I'm going to condense it way down so you can see the overall effect without having to go thru a hundred photos and ten thousand words.
For the next few days, I'll post part of the restoration progress each day, up to the photo limit per posting.
............ To start off .. a short history on the Ridemaster. .....
In the mid-1940s, the Bolens Co. was purchased by Food, Machinery & Chemical Corp. of San Jose, Calif.
In 1946, FMC built a completely self contained riding garden tractor in it's Bean Cutler Division.
This tractor became known as the Bean Cutler which evolved into the Bolens Ridemaster in 1947.
Bolens is credited as building the first production, self-contained four-wheel riding garden tractor.
Type 35AA started production in 1947 and Type 35AB started production July -1948.
The Ridemaster Model 35AA is equipped with 4.00x18 front tires. The Model 35AB is equipped with 5.50x16 front tires.
The Ridemaster was first equipped with a Wisconsin AKS engine and then equipped with a Wisconsin AKN engine starting in 1950.
Type 35AC was equipped with Briggs and Stratton engine and 6.00x16 front rims with 7.00x16 tires. ( 4 tractors were built in 1949 )
Type 38AB01 was introduced in 1955 equipped with a Briggs and Stratton engine and 6.00x16 front tires. Type 38AB02 and 38AB03 were the same as the 38AB01 except they were equipped with 2 speed transmissions.
Ridemaster production lasted thru 1958.
This is a photo of a FMC Bean Cutler ( as I understand it, the wheels were painted red from the factory ).
The Ridemasters carried the " Bolens - FMC " logo on the gas tank.
This is a brochure showing the accessories that were available to go with the Ridemaster.
........................... Now .. on with my project. ......................
This is the 1948 Bolens Ridemaster that got out of south east Ohio, Looks nice doesn't it. ...
Well, don't let the paint fool ya. It's a " rattle can " restoration that is about 10 years old.
It was not running when I got it but the engine did turn over but had no compression.
There are a total of 6-pulleys for cable operation and they are all frozen up.
The adjusting bolts for the rear axles are rusted solid.
The paint is the wrong color and there are areas that you can see dirt in it and some areas where they painted over rust.
The cable for lifting the engine is the wrong size and it is looped thru the bracket and fastened with a cable clamp ( the cable should have a ball on the end that fits in the bracket ).
The steering chain is mostly rusted up.
............. The GOOD NEWS is:
No.-1 This is 100% complete plus it has all the brackets and hardware for lifting front mounted implements.
This hardware is hard to find.
No.-2 This is a Type 35AA01. This model was only in production for the first part of 1948 and then they went to Type 35AB01.
10 years ago, when this was repainted, the 18 inch tractor lug tires were no longer available.
The only tires you could put on then were motorcycle tires. They work OK but they didn't look right.
However, the correct tractor lug tires are now being reproduced and are available from Miller Tire.
This seams to be in good mechanical condition.
I can't feel any slop in the bearings in the rear wheel hubs, the transmission drive pulley or the front axle bearings.
The first thing is to tear it down so every thing can be refinished easier.
Here are the parts all sorted out.
When I got this Ridemaster, I noticed the front wheels were sitting at a slight sideways angle.
This was a common problem with the earlier units.
All the pulling stress is on a 1/2 inch thick bracket that is in-between the front tires with the shaft for the turning wheel welded on top of it.
Here you can see how that turning shaft is tilted off center to the left of the gas tank mounting flange.
I put the steering bracket in the press and bent it back straight,
Here is how it looks with the steering shaft straight.
My 1949 & 1955 Ridemasters have an extra brace welded on each side of the steering bracket to strengthen it.
They look like they came that way from the factory but the brace isn't the same on the two units so I don't know for sure if they did or not.
I can't find any mention of a brace added in my copy of the factory engineering changes.
Next, I sanded down the power transmission unit in preparation for painting.
Here it is ready to paint.
And all painted.
Wheels are next on the list. I was luckey enough to find a pair of "new" old original tires from the 40's or 50's.
Breaking the old motorcycle tire down on one of the front wheels.
Next I sanded down all four rims and put glazing putty on to fill any pits, paint chips and scratches.
I also painted the inside of the front rims with a red-oxide primer.
While the glazing was drying, I turned the rims over and painted the back sides.
I also painted the wheel weights at this time.
Once the paint was dry on the back sides, I turned them back over and sanded the glazing putty.
After sanding, the areas were primed and a few spots needed a second coat of glazing putty.
After I sanded the second coat of glazing, I then mounted the new tires on all four rims.
Then I masked off the tires, in preparation for painting.
Wheels are painted.
Here's how they look with the masking removed and the tires inflated.
Edited by jdcrawler, November 20, 2012 - 03:49 PM.