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Membership Restoration Techniques

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#1 johndeereelfman OFFLINE  

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Posted September 19, 2013 - 05:25 PM

Ok guys. Let's all pull together and give our ideas and techniques in a story line. Another words, I'll start off by taking a tractor apart, and post a couple of pictures of a disassembled tractor. The next member to post will explain the next step he or she feels is next, and post a picture or two of what they explained, and so on down the line. I'm hoping this thread will be not just be entertaining, but will be beneficial to our readers and first time restorer's, in learning the proper techniques, steps and methods to restoring a tractor with professional results. 


This post isn't going to be brand specific, but for starters, let's figure on restoring a garden tractor with gear drive, a Kohler motor, and points/condenser ignition. When we get to the rebuilding of the transmission and motor, let's post pictures with enough details to show most of the internal parts, and if possible, show some common problem areas such as burnt or stuck valves, pistons with holes in them, warped head, broken teeth of ring gears, ect.. We want people to learn from this post, and be able to refer back to it if problems should arise. Remember that we were all in their shoes at one point in time, so as much information or detail that we can give, will only help to improve our hobby.



Today I went out to the garage and decided that this is the day to start restoring old Betsy. She did her time as a working tractor, but starting today, she won't have to work anymore. I spent most of the evening last night pressure washing the whole tractor so that I don't have to work in all kinds of grease today, and I removed the battery after I drove it back into the garage.


First things first, and that was to take all kinds of pictures of the tractor while it was still assembled, one so that I have something to refer back to if I should happen to get stuck on the reassembly, and two, to show people before and after pictures of my work. Since I'm going to be out here in the garage for the better part of the day, I might as well turn on the radio, and find some good music. With my tunes and my coffee cup filled up, I'm ready to go.


After laying out my wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, and sockets, I placed a white blanket under the tractor, so that I can easily find any parts that I may drop, plus it helps to keep nuts and bolts from rolling around on the concrete floor. I also lined up a couple of empty coffee cans, so that I can store the miscellaneous small stuff in them like nuts, bolts, washers, electrical parts, and whatever else fits in. I also have a can of penetrating oil in arms reach for any bullheaded nuts or bolts that just don't want to turn. 


With safety glasses on, I'm ready to go. I start by removing the hood, hood supports and grille. I like to work from the top down while disassembling, as getting rid of the higher up parts, helps to shed light on some of the parts below the frame. Eventually I work my way down throughout the tractor, removing the seat, motor(oil removed), gas tank(gas drained), steering wheel, and pedestal, until all that is left is the frame, transmission, front axle, all four wheels and the miscellaneous under carriage parts. When I'm down to just the rolling chassis, I then drain the transmission fluid. Once empty, I'll start unbolting the transmission and remove it from the frame with the wheels still attached. I then get a buddy to give me a hand with setting the rest of the frame up on sawhorses, so the I can turn the frame upside down without damaging the steering column. The front wheels and axle are removed next, along with the tie rods and steering column. Then it's just a matter of unbolting the rest of the under carriage parts and organizing the disassembled parts into boxes. 


All of the transmission parts have their own box, as well as all of the motor parts, the under carriage parts, and all of the electricals. One coffee can has all of the miscellaneous nuts, bolts, and washers. Another can has the pins, cotter pins and spring pins, and the other can has miscellaneous knobs, key switch, pto light, cigarette lighter, and rubber grommets. 


Calebs Tractor 004.JPG Calebs Tractor 003.JPG Calebs Birthday and Tractor 037.JPG



Now on to the next step........

Edited by johndeereelfman, September 19, 2013 - 06:40 PM.

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#2 TomLGT195 OFFLINE  

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Posted September 19, 2013 - 06:26 PM

I like the white blanket idea!

The next step for me would be to assess the frame, clean and scrape it. Reweld  any cracks, if mild, or replace any major issues, then sand prime and Paint. It's important to have a good platform!!

Sorry no pics 

I think this thread is a good idea, can't wait to see where it goes!

Edited by TomLGT195, September 19, 2013 - 06:50 PM.

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#3 UncleWillie OFFLINE  


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Posted September 19, 2013 - 07:02 PM

Time to fire up the electrolysis tank and get that rust off the frame.

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#4 WNYTractorTinkerer ONLINE  


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Posted September 19, 2013 - 07:05 PM

Good Start to a lot of work!!


I can't wait to hear what your wife says when she spots her favorite white blanket under a rusty tractor! :smilewink:

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#5 Sawdust OFFLINE  

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Posted September 19, 2013 - 10:29 PM

Now that I got the frame SB I shot it down good with an air gun to remove any hidden particles of SB. I then clean with paint thinner to remove all traces of dirt & any oil film from my hands. I then primed several coats turning the frame over each time to make sure I got paint in all the crevices.


get-attachment (6).jpg get-attachment (11).jpg

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#6 johndeereelfman OFFLINE  

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Posted September 20, 2013 - 08:38 PM

While waiting for the rest of the parts to be sandblasted or acid dipped, I started stripping the transmission with the wire wheel. Since the transmission shifts into all four gears without any problems or unusual sounds, and there is no obvious signs of axle leaks, I decided not to split the housing. Parts can be pricey and sometimes hard to find, so if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Anyway, I removed the axle hubs, the drive hub, and the brake hub. I then removed any key stocks, and taped up the exposed shafts with masking tape, so that I don't get paint on them. Since the shift lever and housing will be painted different colors from that of the transmission, I removed them before starting to strip the transmission. I then put on my safety glasses, inserted my ear plugs, and started stripping.


When I had the transmission completely stripped, I applied my first and second coats of sandable automotive primer. After letting the primer dry over night, I went over the transmission with pieces of brown paper bag. This enables you to smooth out the primer, but not sand enough to remove the primer coat. I then went over the whole transmission with a rag and some rubbing alcohol. This will remove any dust particles that may have attached, and will soften the paint just enough to adhere the first coat of finish. 


The first coat of finish is applied lightly, and not necessarily needing to cover the whole transmission. Areas of primer showing through is not a bad thing. I let this coat dry for about an hour, and then start with the second. The second coat should be applied enough to cover the whole transmission, and when done, there should be no primer evident. This coat should be left to dry for at least 24 hours. After the cure time, I then spray a mist of water over the entire transmission, and dab dry with a soft cloth. When dry, I start applying the third coat. This coat should be a little heavier than the second coat, but not enough to cause sagging or runs. I will allow this third coat to dry for at least two days minimum. 


Caleb process 5 002.JPG Caleb process 5 015.JPG Caleb process 5 019.JPG




After the third coat has dried, I will wet sand it lightly, and apply the fourth and final coat. I don't get too fussy with the transmission, as most of it will not be seen when installed on the tractor, but I do try and make it look nice. The fourth coat I will let dry for at least two to three days, before I start installing the axle, drive and brake hubs back on. At least a week of curing time before applying wax.


Caleb process 5 031.JPG

Edited by johndeereelfman, September 20, 2013 - 08:43 PM.

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Posted September 23, 2013 - 03:52 PM

What is this waxing the finish on the transmission, now who is going to inspect that finish.




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Posted September 25, 2013 - 07:25 PM


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#9 johndeereelfman OFFLINE  

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Posted October 02, 2013 - 06:15 AM

Guys, this thread isn't for me, or for "my" restoration. This thread is for all of us to post our own restoration, repair, or painting techniques and ideas. You guys are to post what you think the next step or steps would be. I don't want to be the only one posting here. I know there are more than just a couple members, that have taken a tractor apart, and repainted it. 


Please, join in and post your techniques and pictures of your restorations or refreshed steps and ideas. We are trying to help new collectors understand or learn the in's and out's of lawn & garden tractor repair, repaints, or full blown restorations. This thread needs some more help, so post away!

#10 Sal Mcc OFFLINE  

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Posted December 17, 2013 - 10:05 PM

Lots of good info here. 


One thing i also do is, i keep my smartphone handy and take several pictures before dissembling things. So that later, it's a good reference.


Also, from the pictures, you can print them to just them handy.  Good stuff. 

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#11 johndeereelfman OFFLINE  

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Posted June 20, 2014 - 08:14 PM

Just bumping this post to see if it can get more help in getting restoration techniques posted.

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#12 bus driver OFFLINE  

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Posted August 04, 2014 - 08:44 PM

Great thread.As i take things apart,i always take pictures for later.Starting after the first day of work in the shop is over,I always take time to download,mark,make picture files on the computer.Then when i download the pics i put them in the correct file.I try to follow the same order as the parts manual and make reference to this manual as i down load photos.I have been a photographer for 40+ years.My biggest problem is leaving the pics in a camera for 6 months or not naming and marking pics in the computer files so I can find them later.If i can't find the pics when the tractor is going back together,THAT's a problem.

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