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My first Ridemaster-1


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#1 jdcrawler OFFLINE  

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Posted December 09, 2010 - 10:23 AM

I posted this on another forum as a running progress report that extended over a few months as I did the restoration.
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 ).

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The Ridemasters carried the " Bolens - FMC " logo on the gas tank.

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This is a brochure showing the accessories that were available to go with the Ridemaster.

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........................... 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.

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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.

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............. 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.

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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.

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I put the steering bracket in the press and bent it back straight,

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Here is how it looks with the steering shaft straight.

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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.

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And all painted.

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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.

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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.

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While the glazing was drying, I turned the rims over and painted the back sides.
I also painted the wheel weights at this time.

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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.

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After I sanded the second coat of glazing, I then mounted the new tires on all four rims.

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Then I masked off the tires, in preparation for painting.

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Wheels are painted.

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Here's how they look with the masking removed and the tires inflated.

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Edited by jdcrawler, November 20, 2012 - 03:49 PM.


#2 Bolens 1000 ONLINE  

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Posted December 09, 2010 - 10:50 AM

All I can say is WOW!
You do some Nice work :dancingbanana:
Cant wait to see the rest of the story unfold
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#3 Bolens 1000 ONLINE  

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Posted December 09, 2010 - 10:51 AM

What would you say the most rare attachment would be?
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#4 tweidman OFFLINE  

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Posted December 09, 2010 - 12:11 PM

That is the first time I saw a dirt bike tire on a tractor....lol
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#5 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted December 09, 2010 - 06:18 PM

Very nice. I bet Dr. Bolens will have to call off the day he finds one of these on craigslist. :poke:
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#6 Bolens 1000 ONLINE  

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Posted December 09, 2010 - 06:22 PM

Very nice. I bet Dr. Bolens will have to call off the day he finds one of these on craigslist. :poke:


If I ever see one listed locally for a reasonable price, I would definietly take the day off to go take a look :thumbs:
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#7 jdcrawler OFFLINE  

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Posted December 09, 2010 - 06:50 PM

What would you say the most rare attachment would be?

The Bolens factory made 17 different attachments to go on the Ridemaster.
Of that number, I have seen the actual implement or a photo of the implement for 16 of them
The only one that I have not seen is this one. So on that basis, I'm going to say it is the rarest.

Posted Image

#8 olcowhand ONLINE  

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Posted December 09, 2010 - 07:26 PM

Ray, once you finish this, it needs to be promoted as an article if you don't mind.
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#9 NUTNDUN OFFLINE  

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Posted December 09, 2010 - 08:17 PM

It will take a little work getting it to an article with it being span across multiple posts but I think we can manage.
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#10 wilberj ONLINE  

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Posted December 09, 2010 - 09:11 PM

The Bolens factory made 17 different attachments to go on the Ridemaster.
Of that number, I have seen the actual implement or a photo of the implement for 16 of them
The only one that I have not seen is this one. So on that basis, I'm going to say it is the rarest.


I would of picked that one 2, I about seen all but that one.

I do like that book you have were did you get it??
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#11 caseguy OFFLINE  

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Posted December 09, 2010 - 09:15 PM

That is a great start to what I'm sure will be an awesome piece when you're done! It amazes me what some folks will do to sell a piece. My SC was painted with a brush and there are a lot of spots that the grease, grime and dirt have just been painted in LOL. Eventually I'll re-do the whole tractor and hopefully it'll look as nice as what you've done so far! Thanks for all the great pics and the back story jdcrawler! I'll be looking forward to the updates!
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#12 jdcrawler OFFLINE  

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Posted December 09, 2010 - 10:42 PM

I do like that book you have were did you get it??


Aaron Sluder sells it. It has copies of the Ridemaster manual and all the implements. ( I put the tabs on myself )
I have managed to find original manuals for all but three of the implements.

Edited by jdcrawler, December 09, 2010 - 10:47 PM.


#13 WQDL753 OFFLINE  

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Posted December 10, 2010 - 01:18 AM

Ray, once you finish this, it needs to be promoted as an article if you don't mind.


:yeah_that: I was thinking the same thing, or a blog. Anything to have it all in one place without all our slobbering in between the pages. :rofl2:
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#14 jdcrawler OFFLINE  

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Posted December 10, 2010 - 08:16 AM

Ray, once you finish this, it needs to be promoted as an article if you don't mind.


:yeah_that: I was thinking the same thing, or a blog. Anything to have it all in one place without all our slobbering in between the pages. :rofl2:


Thank you all for the nice comments, I'm glad that you like my work.

As for the post itself ... I feel that once something is put up on the internet it becomes public property so you are welcome to do with it as you please.
Being new here, I don't know how to do up an article or a blog.
I figure this project will take 3 or 4 post to complete. I'm saving a link to each of the post as I put them up and will put all the links at the top of the last post.


I am fairly handy with my hands and have built everything from O-scale model trains to the houses we have lived in and the vehicles we drive.
I just like to build things and it seams that people like to see photos of things like that, so I have been posting some of my projects on other forums for some time now.
These are strictly for your entertainment and it gives me a reason to play on the computer.

Because I am new here and some of you may or may not have already seen my other project postings, I thought I would re-post them here over a period of time until you are caught up with the other forums.
I have condensed this project to get it up quickly but I thought I would put the others up with out editing them.
I'll stretch them out so I don't flood the forum.

#15 NUTNDUN OFFLINE  

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Posted December 10, 2010 - 08:21 AM

Thank you all for the nice comments, I'm glad that you like my work.

As for the post itself ... I feel that once something is put up on the internet it becomes public property so you are welcome to do with it as you please.
Being new here, I don't know how to do up an article or a blog.
I figure this project will take 3 or 4 post to complete. I'm saving a link to each of the post as I put them up and will put all the links ant the top of the last post.


I am fairly handy with my hands and have built everything from O-scale model trains to the houses we have lived in and the vehicles we drive.
I just like to build things and it seams that people like to see photos of things like that, so I have been posting some of my projects on other forums for some time now.
These are strictly for your entertainment and it gives me a reason to play on the computer.

Because I am new here and some of you may or may not have already seen my other project postings, I thought I would re-post them here over a period of time until you are caught up with the other forums.
I have condensed this prject posting to get it up quickly but I thought I would put the others up with out editing them.
I'll stretch them out so I don't flood the forum.


Don't worry about being new here as we don't pass judgement. Everyone is welcome to post as much or as little as they want.
Once you finished posting your sections we can merge then in to one post and then promote it to an article for on the front page then it will be documented for easy finding :D
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