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Wheel Horse RJ-58 Restoration


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#1 johndeereelfman OFFLINE  

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Posted July 26, 2015 - 12:58 PM

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:

 

July 25, 2015 001.JPG July 25, 2015 002.JPG

 

 

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.  :thumbs:


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#2 Racinbob OFFLINE  

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Posted July 26, 2015 - 01:08 PM

From what I'm seeing you have a real dandy to work on there. I would have loved to see it before the tear down. It's gonna be fun to see it progress. :D

 

I'm about 80% done on a 1960 Suburban 400 which is similar to yours.


Edited by Racinbob, July 26, 2015 - 01:09 PM.

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#3 petrj6 ONLINE  

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Posted July 26, 2015 - 02:49 PM

   well the hardest part is done !! you have the belt guard and muffler shield :thumbs: I have a 58 rj here that I want to restore someday, I will keep a close eye on this.'

                                             Pete


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#4 superaben OFFLINE  

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Posted July 26, 2015 - 08:51 PM

Troy, knowing how your green things turn out, I have good hopes for this Wheel Horse.  I'm looking forward to seeing you get your hands in a different color paint.  Maybe you aren't so hopelessly lost after all!  :smilewink:

 

Ben W.


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#5 Canawler OFFLINE  

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Posted July 26, 2015 - 10:30 PM

I'm looking forward to seeing you get your hands in a different color paint.


What makes you think he's not painting this one in Deere colors?
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#6 MolonLabe ONLINE  

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Posted July 27, 2015 - 06:39 AM

That should be a fun project for sure! Take a look at the numbers cast into the transmission housing to the right of the shifter and you can tell the date it was manufactured. Like my Suburban trans F1 - 0

 

F=June

1=Day of month

0=Year, 1960

 

411524416.jpg

 

Good luck, lots of help out here if you need it.


Edited by MolonLabe, July 27, 2015 - 06:40 AM.

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#7 superaben OFFLINE  

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Posted July 27, 2015 - 07:33 PM

What makes you think he's not painting this one in Deere colors?

 

That thought makes me sick on my stomach.

 

Please Troy... we are begging you!

 

Ben W. 


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#8 johndeereelfman OFFLINE  

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Posted July 27, 2015 - 08:12 PM

I'm looking forward to seeing you get your hands in a different color paint.  

 

 

What makes you think he's not painting this one in Deere colors?

 

It's actually funny that you guys say this. My father-in-law used to have an old Wheel Horse, which he sold many years ago. However, he told Ryan that he will give him the Wheel Horse dump cart and hub caps that he still has when the tractor is completely finished. Just tonight, Ryan told his grandpa that the restoration of the Wheel Horse has begun, and grandpa said "That's great. It will be nice to have another red machine in the family." Ryan just laughed and said, "Oh grandpa, you're so funny. Dad isn't painting my tractor red, it's going to be green so it will match the rest of our tractors." Well, needless to say, I had to upset Ryan by letting him know that this tractor will indeed be red. Although he wasn't happy at first, he quickly got happy when I explained to him how unique he will be by having the only red tractor in our garage, and that it won't look like all of the rest of our tractors. It took a little coxing but I think I have him excited about keeping it red like it was meant to be. 


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#9 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted July 27, 2015 - 08:35 PM

:watching:
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#10 johndeereelfman OFFLINE  

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Posted July 27, 2015 - 08:37 PM

OK, here are a couple of questions I need answered so that I can start buying my paint.

 

1. Is the whole tractor to be painted red, other than the rims?

2. What type of red should I be buying? I heard one time that I should use International Red?

3. What about the white for the rims? Is it normal white, or does it have an off-white look, almost cream color to it?

4. I stripped the co-axle cable that holds the rear lift cable, does this get painted red to match the tractor?

5. I did a search on redoyourhorse for decals, and although I found the set of decals needed, I see that he'll need the serial number of the tractor so that he can print it on the serial number decal. This tractor didn't have this decal when I got it, so what serial number should I go with? Can someone give me some type of serial number ranges to choose from?

6. Was black or silver used on any part of the tractor at all? I'm thinking I might paint a few parts in black or silver, just to give some detail to the tractor. Thoughts about this?

7. This tractor had the original, or at least I think it's the original, all white seat cushion tied on it, but it should probably be replaced. Anybody know where to find a replacement? 

8. Was the exhaust pipe black? Was the muffler silver?

9. There is a small hole in the hood, facing you as you are sitting on the tractor. Any one know what this hole is for? Maybe a kill switch?

10. Are front axle caps still available, and if so, what color should I be looking for, black, red, or white?

11. This tractor didn't have the air cleaner. After viewing some RJ's online, it appears that I can use a standard 7hp air cleaner for this. The engine is a K91 4hp Kohler. Can anybody shed some light on this? 

12. I see there are foot rest posts sticking out on both sides of the tractor. Should there be some type of foot shaped rests that get mounted to these posts?

 

That's is for now, but I'm sure I'll think of more later. If I can at least get the answers for the paint shades or paint names, that would be a big plus, as I'll then be able to send the wife shopping for me!  :D



#11 MolonLabe ONLINE  

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Posted July 27, 2015 - 10:15 PM

OK, here are a couple of questions I need answered so that I can start buying my paint.

 

1. Is the whole tractor to be painted red, other than the rims? All red

2. What type of red should I be buying? I heard one time that I should use International Red? Rustoleum Regal Red seems to be most popular

3. What about the white for the rims? Is it normal white, or does it have an off-white look, almost cream color to it? Most agree on an off-white / linen

4. I stripped the co-axle cable that holds the rear lift cable, does this get painted red to match the tractor? The sheath is usually red and the cable silver

5. I did a search on redoyourhorse for decals, and although I found the set of decals needed, I see that he'll need the serial number of the tractor so that he can print it on the serial number decal. This tractor didn't have this decal when I got it, so what serial number should I go with? Can someone give me some type of serial number ranges to choose from? Give Terry @ Redoyourhorse.com a call about the decals and he can probably suggest what to use for a serial if you don't know what it is.

6. Was black or silver used on any part of the tractor at all? I'm thinking I might paint a few parts in black or silver, just to give some detail to the tractor. Thoughts about this?

7. This tractor had the original, or at least I think it's the original, all white seat cushion tied on it, but it should probably be replaced. Anybody know where to find a replacement? 

8. Was the exhaust pipe black? Was the muffler silver?

9. There is a small hole in the hood, facing you as you are sitting on the tractor. Any one know what this hole is for? Maybe a kill switch?

10. Are front axle caps still available, and if so, what color should I be looking for, black, red, or white? Glen Pettit can fix you up with these http://www.wheelhorseforum.com/topic/31908-04-rubber-hub-caps-lenses-6-items-here/

11. This tractor didn't have the air cleaner. After viewing some RJ's online, it appears that I can use a standard 7hp air cleaner for this. The engine is a K91 4hp Kohler. Can anybody shed some light on this? It should have a filter housing that accepts the Kohler 230840-S 4" O.D. paper filter

12. I see there are foot rest posts sticking out on both sides of the tractor. Should there be some type of foot shaped rests that get mounted to these posts?

 

That's is for now, but I'm sure I'll think of more later. If I can at least get the answers for the paint shades or paint names, that would be a big plus, as I'll then be able to send the wife shopping for me!  :D

 

Hope this helps, if I've made any mistakes I'm sure that someone will chime in with a correction. Most of the RJ's I've seen don't have foot rests but some do, guess it's a matter of personal taste.


Edited by MolonLabe, July 27, 2015 - 10:17 PM.

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#12 Racinbob OFFLINE  

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Posted July 28, 2015 - 11:02 AM

Good information there. Here's a little more. I believe the lift cable was silver or unpainted but I could be wrong. As far as the serial # I had Terry print 'Suburban 400' on the plate where the number was since mine was gone. The RJ's didn't have footrests but it was very common to add them later. The 60/61 Suburbans had them so folks put those on.There wasn't any black or silver parts but there's no harm if you want to add some. I used all stainless hardware on my Suburban. There wasn't caps on the front hubs but again, a common add on. There's a hole in the hood where the throttle cable runs through. Without seeing it I can't be sure but I'd bet that's the hole you're referring to. No kill button on the hood. The exhaust was unpainted and the muffler was a shower cap type, silver or grayish plated.


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#13 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted July 28, 2015 - 11:23 AM

The regal red looks nice on KK's, but be warned, it isn't gas friendly.
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#14 MolonLabe ONLINE  

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Posted July 28, 2015 - 02:46 PM

I agree with Racinbob about the colors, make it your own. If you want to add some silver or black go for it. It's only paint and if you want to change it, it's pretty easy. Here's my black brake band and SS hardware on my 400.

SAM_0995.JPG

 

 


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#15 Racinbob OFFLINE  

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Posted July 28, 2015 - 03:15 PM

Great minds think alike. :D

My 400 as she sits right now.

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Edited by Racinbob, July 28, 2015 - 03:16 PM.

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