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1930s Empire Garden Tractor


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#1 jtrojek OFFLINE  

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Posted September 20, 2012 - 03:47 PM

Hello, All. I just thought I'd post pictures of an old Empire walk behind that I used to own. I sold it to a friend after I realized I wanted to get out of walk behinds and into riding garden tractors so that I can take my kids for rides and better share my hobby with them. Unfortunately, I don't have space for both so I had to make the tough decision to sell, knowing that it's unlikely I'll come across another one. I thought I'd post these pictures because this model of Empire is pretty rare, so I figured others may want to see it. I still have lots of other pictures. It's a 1930s Empire, made in Windsor, Ontario, using a Villiers 2-stroke, crank-start, 3.5hp motor. It's a really neat machine, but unfortunately, I just can't keep everything, so I passed it along to a friend who is a collector. He'll take good care of it, but it still isn't fun to part with something so unique ....

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#2 mjodrey OFFLINE  

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Posted September 20, 2012 - 04:18 PM

Nice looking old machine.
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#3 LilysDad ONLINE  

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Posted September 20, 2012 - 07:46 PM

What a beauty!
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#4 jtrojek OFFLINE  

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Posted October 12, 2015 - 10:19 AM

So I bought this a few years back, sold it, and now I'm bringing it home again. It was bought and sold and traded a couple of times during that period. It was used as a lawn ornament and I just didn't want to see that. It's as rare as hens teeth (yep, I used the "r" word). It deserves to be fixed up for a couple of reasons. It needs a lot of engine work (missing parts, machining, etc) and a new fuel tank made, but it'll be worth it. Too much of a shame to see it rot. So, now it's sitting back in my garage (well, on the trailer until I can get it into the garage).
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#5 Alc ONLINE  

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Posted October 12, 2015 - 10:33 AM

The tractor you just bought was the same as the same  one you posted in 2012 ? And it ended up as a lawn ornament ?


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#6 DougT ONLINE  

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Posted October 12, 2015 - 10:52 AM

I always liked that one. It could be a yard ornament at my house anytime!      :thumbs:


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#7 jtrojek OFFLINE  

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Posted October 12, 2015 - 11:21 AM

The tractor you just bought was the same as the same  one you posted in 2012 ? And it ended up as a lawn ornament ?

Yes indeed.  I've been trying to get it back for probably a year and a half, once I found out it was being used as a lawn ornament.  The only differences between when I owned it and now is that a little more paint is peeling, and the rotten fuel tank has been tossed.  Luckily I have some good pictures of the fuel tank, so I can have something made that's relatively close to original.  In the end, I understand why they used it as a lawn ornament.  The engine needs a ton of work: it's missing the piston, carb, air filter, and ignition cover, and that's just to start.  I imagine it will be missing other parts too once I crack it open and take a good look at it (connecting rod?).  I didn't get around to taking it apart when I owned it, so I don't know how things are.  It's a Villiers engine, so parts are hard to come by around here.  Having said that, I called a place in England and I can still get all the parts I need over there and have them shipped.  So, I'll either have to rebuild this one, or find another Villiers Mark XIVB.  Either way, I'm sure I'm going to have a lot more into this one than it's worth.  This will be one that I rebuild, knowing that I'll probably never recoup the money, which is against my number one rule.  In the end though, this one is worth it.  They're incredibly rare, and are Canadian made. 

 

I always liked that one. It could be a yard ornament at my house anytime!      :thumbs:

Thanks, Doug.


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#8 Clifford Bridgford OFFLINE  

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Posted October 12, 2015 - 08:26 PM

Nice machine.  Unique wheels.

 

Cliff


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#9 jtrojek OFFLINE  

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Posted October 13, 2015 - 06:03 AM

Nice machine.  Unique wheels.

 

Cliff

Thanks.  I like the wheels.  I'm looking forward to getting this 2-stroke running.  I always liked the sound of my Graham-Paige Rototiller when it ran, so I'm curious to hear this 2-stroke run.  The big cast iron muffler is interesting and I want to hear how it sounds.  Someday.


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#10 tiretrx ONLINE  

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Posted October 13, 2015 - 08:51 AM

Beautiful machine. Very glad to hear you saved it from a slow death much undeserved  :thumbs:


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#11 Mike Unwin OFFLINE  

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Posted October 14, 2015 - 08:09 AM

Great news Jamie,good to see it is in good hands .It is not often when you sell something that you ever get the chance to get it back . Right now I am rebuilding a Lister and have found Stationary Engine Parts to be a excellent supplier , however the British pound is like twice a Canadian dollar and the shipping is wild. Ebay UK might have the parts you need . The threads are likely Whitworth so you will need the same wrenches if that is the case. Lucky I saved Grandad,s , should be a great winter,s project and time is on your side . Cheers Mike

 

in case you need fasteners


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#12 jtrojek OFFLINE  

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Posted November 03, 2015 - 04:51 PM

I finally got around to doing a (very) little bit of dismantling of the Empire. I was able to answer a few of my questions so far, but a few more also popped up. I thought I'd post a few quick pictures. The threads for the flywheel seem pretty worn. I'll have to take a closer look at those. The connecting rod is in there and the crankcase is filled with what I think is transmission fluid. I guess at this point I can't really say if it's the engine that's seized or the differential. Looks like the flywheel and all that is Empire, made to bolt onto the Villiers engine. It's definitely only going to take a Villiers engine, maybe even only this model of Villiers. No way I can put a different brand of engine on there, not that I wanted to do that anyway. I'm sure I'll learn more as I go, have more questions as I go, and probably prove myself wrong on a number of occasions. I think my next step is to take a closer look at that flywheel shaft with the gear on it. I need to take a closer look at it because it looks like it needs to come off in order to remove the engine by pulling it out of that casting. I'll need to look closer at that. I didn't see a set screw. I'm hoping it's not pressed on there or something. Maybe it's threaded on? We'll see. I need to look more closely when I have more time. Maybe I can get away with not removing it. I'll post more on it when I learn more.

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#13 jabelman OFFLINE  

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Posted November 03, 2015 - 05:02 PM

Either way, I'm sure I'm going to have a lot more into this one than it's worth. This will be one that I rebuild, knowing that I'll probably never recoup the money, which is against my number one rule. In the end though, this one is worth it.

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I think alot of us put more into these old machines dollar and time but in the end yes it's worth it

Edited by jabelman, November 03, 2015 - 05:03 PM.

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#14 Mike Unwin OFFLINE  

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Posted November 03, 2015 - 08:38 PM

Maybe lift the cylinder off and take a look inside , a peek down into the crankcase might reveal how to pull the shaft out. Did have a chance to try Walridge yet ? He might know or have a Villers Mk 14B manual .Cheers and good luck Mike


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#15 Mike Unwin OFFLINE  

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Posted November 03, 2015 - 08:44 PM

Is this close at all ? Sorry just read it now .

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Edited by Mike Unwin, November 03, 2015 - 08:45 PM.

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