Well the time has come that my youngest son Ryan, will no longer let me put off on starting the restoration of his Wheel Horse RJ. So, it's now time to find all of the parts and get things underway. It will take some digging in the garage to find all of the parts and pieces, and once they are all found, I'll post a couple of pictures. This will be my first restoration of a "Red" machine, so bare with me if I should make mistakes, and don't ride me too hard if I tend to ask a lot of questions when trying to put the machine back together. I'm a John Deere man, so this is all new to me. Hopefully I won't disappoint you all too bad!
A brief history as to how I came about getting this tractor. Roughly ten years ago, I guy contacted me telling me he has a John Deere garden tractor with clam shell fenders that he's looking to get rid of, and thought I might be interested in buying it. After agreeing on a meeting date and time, I finally had the chance to go and meet him. The tractor was stored high up on some industrial type shelving in an old warehouse, but I could clearly tell that the tractor was not a John Deere. It was painted green like a John Deere, but the Wheel Horse letters stamped across the front of the grille was a dead give away that this was not what the seller thought it was. Anyway, he got his forklift out and brought the tractor down to the floor so I could check it out better, but while doing so, he caught the end of a digging iron that was laying on the second shelf from the top, and it flipped over the top of the forklift and landed across the hood of this Wheel Horse, causing a huge dent in the hood. Luckily no one got hurt! Once the tractor was on the floor, I showed the seller that the tractor was indeed a Wheel Horse, although I couldn't tell him what model of Wheel Horse it was, due to inexperience of red tractors. Although the tractor seemed to be complete with all guards and the mower deck, I told him I wasn't interested, as I only collect John Deere's. He asked if I would take it off of his hands for $25.00, as he is retiring and needs to have the warehouse cleaned out by the end of the month. I figured for $25.00 I didn't have much to lose, and I could probably make some money off of the tractor if I could get it running.
After getting the tractor home, I checked with one of the area Wheel Horse collectors to see just what it is that I got. He asked numerous questions about the tractor, and even though I was only able to give him yes and no answers, we narrowed the tractor down to being either a '58 or '59 model RJ. He told me where to find the serial number decal, but after checking for it, I quickly found that it was no longer there. He offered to by the tractor from me for $200.00, site unseen, but I decided to keep the tractor since the model letters matched those of my youngest son Ryan James. With turning down his offer, I quickly found the collector to be short with me, and getting frustrated with me due to my decision of not wanting to sell.
One thing I regret, is not taking pictures of the tractor before tearing the whole thing apart. I figured there isn't much to the tractor, and since it appears to be only a couple of pieces, it should be pretty simple in putting it all back together. I may have to rethink that decision!!
Yesterday I dug through the garage, and was able to find a few parts and pieces, however the rest of the tractor will need to be dug out once I have more time to move other tractors around or bring some down off of the shelves. Here is what I was able to locate:
I'm planning on starting to strip some of the parts this afternoon with the wire wheel as long as the weather holds out. We are supposed to get some afternoon thunderstorms, so hopefully I can get a good jump on some of this. I know I'll have questions along the way, so hopefully you'll all be able to help out as I go along. Looking forward to completing this tractor for Ryan, and hopefully you'll enjoy it as well.