Jump to content

Nominations for Tractor of the Month
Garden Tractors and Parts on eBay



Photo
- - - - -

Vintage Rider: Show & Tell & Questions


  • Please log in to reply
31 replies to this topic

#1 Orangejulius OFFLINE  

Orangejulius
  • Member
  • Member No: 12754
  • 26 Thanks
  • 24 posts
  • Location: Western PA

Posted October 08, 2012 - 12:04 PM

First off, awesome forum, and I apologize in advance for the long post. :D

This is the story of my 196x Craftsman rider:

In my down time I like to surf Craigslist and see what gems I come across. I found this tractor in a listing full of items for trade about 3 weeks ago. I contacted the seller (contrary to my recent c list experiences, this guy was NOT a whack job… nice change of pace). He began to tell me that the tractor was in his family since he could remember. He ended up with it roughly 8 years ago, at which point he had it running and installed a new blade belt. The owner soon after moved to a townhouse and kept it in the garage for permanent storage. One seldom played dean electric guitar later, I had the tractor loaded on my trailer and on its way home.

0759e1800cf711e2a97a22000a1d0cd5 7

59170b8e09db11e29a9c22000a1e8b99 7

332d78f60bf011e2ac3122000a1c9e05 7


Conducted a little research and came up with the following: Model number 131.8220, manufactured by Sears / Craftsman in 1963, 1964, or 1965. I can not pinpoint the date exactly. It’s a single blade 26” cut. 6 hp Tecumseh (I believe) vertical shaft motor with recoil less pull start (wrap a rope on the flywheel pulley and yank). Magnesium or aluminum deck, steel tube frame, and fiberglass body. Non-pneumatic tires. Sears parts source was one of my first stops when I found the model number on the machine; cool to see they bothered to digitize the diagrams for such an old piece of equipment… those are helpful.

I have been able to locate pictures online showing this tractor in red/white and blue/white, but not the silver/ white it is. Paint appears to be original, no signs of any other color, even when removing bits of the frame and inspecting.

Tractor is complete. I had it running (albeit rough) within an hr of getting it home. I was contemplating leaving it all original and it is in fair shape, but I could not resist the urge to tinker. I Began to restore it in the evenings, and the process went way faster than expected… time flys when your having fun.

I completely disassembled the tractor, when I removed the cover under the deck to find all the pulleys in good shape, to my surprise the shaft bearings were all play free, belt looked almost new. I pulled the blade and ground a new edge and re installed. Gear box inspection cover was removed; no signs of wear that I could see, grease still looked fresh.. topped off and replaced cover. Rear differential also checked out fine. Removed the carb and the flywheel: cleaned, adjusted points, disassembled, cleaned carb and returned to factory start settings. Blew out air filter, cleaned inside of fuel tank, serviced steering linkage and rear pillow blocks.

Everything was degreased, ground, sanded, smoothed, prepped, primed, and painted in factory colors (or as close to as what I could find available) Tractor was then re assembled, engine was run and final adjustments made on carb. She runs like a top!

c06f52ce0cf511e283fd1231380f60e3 7

20deb56e0b6611e29a8c22000a1c9e37 7

3d95208a0cf611e2be981231380f620c 7

5fd7c9d60cf611e28e7522000a1c881f 7

05c7ae2a0cf611e282b422000a1c8870 7

1dcc17fe0cf611e2935222000a1cf717 7

7cbe6dc00cf611e2b9d422000a1fa429 7

96bcfe6c0cf611e2a23c22000a1de655 7


From what I can see by looking at pictures online, It looks like a vinyl covered, foam pad was upholstered onto the metal seat fame. 2 tone, one being the frame color and one being the body color. Plan is to reproduce this as closely to the photo as I can using a silver grey / and white combination (with help from the seamstress in the family of course).

The body is a tricky one. All the original decals are there, and it looks like a gel coat over fiberglass, not paint. Ill do my best at cleaning it see how that goes, then maybe a light sanding on the bad stains if needed. Worst case scenario I need to paint to get the right finish, I will mask the decals off (shifter, blade on /off, motor control, and model number) as I will damage them trying to remove.

I do plan on using this mower regularly on roughly 1 acre of mixed hills / flats. I have mowed this section once so far with it, and I was thinking the near slick rear tires would be an issue with regard to traction, but surprisingly it was not. I used to run a baby National triplex reel mower (another cool death trap) and you had to lean your body over the wheel that was slipping and you would power through anything. Sometimes you just have to rock side to side… manual traction control. This Craftsman is the same way. Its geared so well it will pull the front end off the ground if you put too much weight over the rear axle going up a hill; no shortage of torque. 6” grass and leaves did not bog it down. I am guessing the mow speed is around 7mph.

The bigger limiting factor was the tendency for the mower just to push straight through turns; the front wheels did not bite in. Large to moderate turns are not an issue, but going full lock around a tree was tricky. I want to make a set of chains for the front and rear wheels.


Ill keep you posted on the body progress, making of the seat, and building the chains (and eventually a yard cart). Wish I found the forum sooner, could have had a nice build thread.


Now for a few questions (I may have to get more pictures or info to help you out, no problem just let me know what you need):

Is this a 6 hp Tecumseh for sure?

Any idea on an exact build year?

IS the deck cast aluminum (i think) or magnesium?

I get a strange whirling type sound under forward motion. The sound does not happen in reverse, at idle, or if you are descending a hill faster than the intended speed of the tractor. Chain is in good shape and adjusted. Hunch is its worn gears in the gear box. Anything I should look at specifically?

Any other pictures of this mower?

Any other info, history?

Any know parts sources?

Thanks for checking it out!
  • caseguy, IamSherwood, KennyP and 2 others have said thanks

#2 Dieselcubmike OFFLINE  

Dieselcubmike
  • Senior Member
  • Member No: 11127
  • 1,327 Thanks
  • 1,511 posts
  • Location: Southwestern,Pa

Posted October 08, 2012 - 12:28 PM

Nice toy! I know what you mean by those scammers. I too purchased a little toy not too long ago but I dont have very much info on it. Mines a vintage zero turn mower I have a video posted somewhere on here.
  • Orangejulius said thank you

#3 Orangejulius OFFLINE  

Orangejulius
  • Member
  • Member No: 12754
  • 26 Thanks
  • 24 posts
  • Location: Western PA

Posted October 08, 2012 - 12:49 PM

Nice toy! I know what you mean by those scammers. I too purchased a little toy not too long ago but I dont have very much info on it. Mines a vintage zero turn mower I have a video posted somewhere on here.


Craigslist can be great and a huge headache… especially when selling. Every odd ball scammer in the area has a hook out on it. I saw that 0 turn a few weeks back on c list, cool toy. Good luck with it :thumbs:
  • Dieselcubmike said thank you

#4 Alc ONLINE  

Alc

    Tractorholic

  • Senior Member
  • -GTt Supporter-
  • Contributor
  • Member No: 1094
  • 5,458 Thanks
  • 6,627 posts
  • Location: Bangor Pa

Posted October 08, 2012 - 12:49 PM

Great pictures of your mower ! I'm looking forward to seeing the seat and body completed , Al
  • Orangejulius said thank you

#5 caseguy OFFLINE  

caseguy

    Connoisseur of Rusty Junk

  • Senior Member
  • -GTt Supporter-
  • Contributor
  • Member No: 906
  • 1,624 Thanks
  • 5,600 posts
  • Location: Edinburg, PA

Posted October 08, 2012 - 01:03 PM

Thanks for the great thread OJ! That's just what we like to see, so no need to apologize for the long post. That looks like a great piece of history and reading your story reminds that there was a time when companies were interested in more than just the bottom line. Thanks for taking the time to write it all down for us and the pictures are great!
  • Orangejulius said thank you

#6 glgrumpy ONLINE  

glgrumpy

    Getting Out!

  • Senior Member
  • -GTt Supporter-
  • Member No: 8360
  • 6,662 Thanks
  • 6,476 posts
  • Location: Huntington, IN 46750 North East in State

Posted October 08, 2012 - 01:06 PM

Never liked little riders. Think it sounds to me like you need biggere rig for that big of yard and that big of grass and leaves. These little things were made for in town flat lots. You need at least a LAWN Tractor.

#7 Orangejulius OFFLINE  

Orangejulius
  • Member
  • Member No: 12754
  • 26 Thanks
  • 24 posts
  • Location: Western PA

Posted October 08, 2012 - 02:14 PM

Never liked little riders. Think it sounds to me like you need biggere rig for that big of yard and that big of grass and leaves. These little things were made for in town flat lots. You need at least a LAWN Tractor.


I also have a 19hp Sears if I feel the need to use it, that is what currently handles the remaining 2 acres of property. You would be quite surprised how well this mower works (speed, cut, comfort). Due to its low center of gravity, I can horizontally mow sections of the property that the 19hp would be tempted to barrel roll on; this saves time. The thing is a hoot to run too!

I will have to post up video once the grass needs cut again, trust me it does it job quite allright.



Caseguy, glgrumpy, alc, thanks for the comments. Ill post up progress as time allows. :thumbs:
  • IamSherwood and 1978murray have said thanks

#8 KennyP ONLINE  

KennyP

    FORDoholic

  • Super Moderator
  • Staff
  • -GTt Supporter-
  • Contributor
  • Member No: 2253
  • 28,486 Thanks
  • 39,722 posts
  • Location: Collinsville, Oklahoma

Posted October 08, 2012 - 03:07 PM

That is a cool little mower! Great intro on it also. Sometimes, these little fellas do much better than their larger cousins. Keep us in the loop. And thanks for the pics and info!
  • Orangejulius said thank you

#9 mjodrey OFFLINE  

mjodrey

    Accumulator

  • Senior Member
  • Contributor
  • Member No: 92
  • 2,343 Thanks
  • 13,481 posts
  • Location: Upper Granville, Nova Scotia, Canada

Posted October 08, 2012 - 03:33 PM

Thanks for sharing those great photos with us.
  • Orangejulius said thank you

#10 Cvans OFFLINE  

Cvans

    Tractorholic

  • Senior Member
  • -GTt Supporter-
  • Member No: 5412
  • 4,519 Thanks
  • 5,033 posts
  • Location: Eastern SD.

Posted October 08, 2012 - 03:41 PM

Wonderful story and your results are worth posting. Looks like the ideal mower for the smaller yard and I'll bet it is good on fuel also. When I was a kid I would have given a bag of my favorite marbles for a mower like that. :smilewink:
  • Orangejulius said thank you

#11 UncleWillie ONLINE  

UncleWillie

    wabbit wangler

  • Senior Member
  • -GTt Supporter-
  • Contributor
  • Member No: 10399
  • 12,765 Thanks
  • 7,703 posts
  • Location: Gaston county, NC

Posted October 08, 2012 - 03:47 PM

Very cool mower. I really wish I had kept the Morse Fairbanks I got a few years ago. But another guy wanted it more than I did.
  • Orangejulius said thank you

#12 IamSherwood OFFLINE  

IamSherwood

    Elf guardian

  • Senior Member
  • -GTt Supporter-
  • Contributor
  • Member No: 2066
  • 8,379 Thanks
  • 7,696 posts
  • Location: Northern Ontario

Posted October 08, 2012 - 05:40 PM

Hi there.
Welcome to GTT, and thanks for the well written story of your treasure/resto.
I have one of those too, minus the fiberglass cowl. I found it at the dump last
Aug. and after a bit of fiddling, had it running. As you say, they are a hoot to drive, and
you really have to be careful in the high speed corners. There is a thread I started about mine
somewhere in the sears section. Someone else has a real nice original one posted in there too.
I think the whole deck is aluminum.
From what I figured out, I believe, it's a 1961.

Here is a pic of mine.

P1010088.JPG

Edited by IamSherwood, October 08, 2012 - 05:42 PM.

  • Orangejulius said thank you

#13 Newpaws493 OFFLINE  

Newpaws493
  • Senior Member
  • -GTt Supporter-
  • Contributor
  • Member No: 9454
  • 1,150 Thanks
  • 1,691 posts
  • Location: Boston,Massachusetts

Posted October 08, 2012 - 05:54 PM

Welcome aboard! You are definately stylin'! Thanks for posting & keep em coming! :thumbs:


  • Orangejulius said thank you

#14 Orangejulius OFFLINE  

Orangejulius
  • Member
  • Member No: 12754
  • 26 Thanks
  • 24 posts
  • Location: Western PA

Posted October 08, 2012 - 08:13 PM

Hi there.
Welcome to GTT, and thanks for the well written story of your treasure/resto.
I have one of those too...


Wow, what an awesome dump find! I am assuming the silver body and seat are original paint? This is the first picture I saw where the paint scheme matches mine. Very cool, looks like I nailed the color if that’s the case… the original paint was in such bad shape it was hard to tell. Is yours a 6hp or a 4hp? If it’s a 4hp, from what I gather in my research, it did not have the fiberglass cover from the factory. (if it’s a 6hp then yours is missing) Does yours sound the same in both forward and reverse? Thanks for sharing that! I found your thread as well, thanks. Anny idea as to what I should search to find the other one?


Very active forum! Moves fast. Thanks for the comments! I’ll be sure to keep this thread updated. I made the first step to adding chains to the mower. I won an auction on EBay for a 42lb box full of random tire chains. Some are small (for a push snow blower I think) and may work perfectly. If I need to make any adjustment, I will have plenty of stock.
  • IamSherwood said thank you

#15 MH81 ONLINE  

MH81

    Proud to be Deplorable

  • Staff Admin
  • Staff
  • -GTt Supporter-
  • Contributor
  • Member No: 802
  • 27,316 Thanks
  • 28,634 posts
  • Location: N. W. PA

Posted October 08, 2012 - 09:08 PM

Love the looks, it's a real piece of Americana. In the 60's you'd have been the envy of everyone on your block with that.

As for the engine, ANY numbers on it?

Re tires. If you ever find a spare set, a trick for getting traction is to put a single row of 3/4" sheet metal screws like a center rib. Spaced about 1" apart, the heads do a decent job at getting purchase. Wouldn't want to do it to your originals, but if you find a different set of solid tires just for mowing duties...
  • IamSherwood, LilysDad and Orangejulius have said thanks




Top