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Road trip to CT yesterday for an old Gard'n Mast'r Jr. tractor.


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#1 classic ONLINE  

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Posted August 27, 2016 - 06:09 PM

A guy had this tractor listed on ebay for 300 and the auction ended with no bidders. Parts are hard to find for these machines, and the tractor looked complete from what I could see in the pics. I called the guy and he still had it, so off we went to pick it up. The original engine should have been a Wisconsin AKN, but someone replaced it with a Wisconsin AB from 1948. I messed with it for a short time when I got home and I was able to get it running for a moment. It needs a valve job since the compression comes and goes.
I went back out to mess with it today, but the engine would only try to run for a second. I decided to pull the Wisconsin AB from an old Bolens Gardener walk behind that I picked up last year. I knew this engine ran good, so I rotated the gear reduction unit, changed out the blower housing, gas tank, and throttle linkage. The clutch on the tractor is in real good shape, so I just installed it on the Bolens engine. I got it all back together and the engine fired right up. I took the tractor for a quick ride around the yard and everything seems to work fine. the leaking rear tire kept me from taking it for a longer ride.
I'm going to try to hunt down an AKN gear reduction engine to bring this tractor back to what it should be. The gobs of red paint preserved the metal on the tractor, and the rims are in great shape. I don't know what year this JR was built, since the original engine is gone. It's ugly, but at least it's not rusted away, worn out, and most of the key parts are there to restore it.

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Edited by classic, August 27, 2016 - 06:13 PM.

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#2 classic ONLINE  

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Posted August 27, 2016 - 07:15 PM

The seller claimed that this tractor came originally with the electric start. I would like to see some good pics of one of these with the electric start option. I'm thinking that it may have been added to this tractor at a later date.

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#3 classic ONLINE  

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Posted August 27, 2016 - 07:17 PM

Here is the only pic of one of these tractors that I can find with electric start. You can see the large silver pulley on the front of the engine.

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#4 cootertom ONLINE  

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Posted August 27, 2016 - 07:19 PM

Nice


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#5 petrj6 ONLINE  

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Posted August 27, 2016 - 08:26 PM

   Silly looking little thing aint it  !!!  I like it !!!!  looks all there and straight so a  great place to start a resto, lots better than what I usually find.  good for you.

                                                                                               Pete


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#6 classic ONLINE  

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Posted August 27, 2016 - 08:51 PM

I have to agree with you Pete, it sure is silly looking, HA! They are way over built with the late 30's Mopar rear end and transmission, though. The narrow front axle and little 6" front rims, along with that hood give them a goofy look. Garden-all marketed this as their economy version of their four wheel tractor. Some day I'd like to find it's big brother, the G model. I removed the top cover from the transmission and it looks good. Luckily it spent most of it's life inside and water didn't get into anything.

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#7 jabelman OFFLINE  

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Posted August 27, 2016 - 09:07 PM

glad you got it, its in a good home now. I had that on my watch list all week was surprised nobody went for it. I was very close to hitting the bid button!
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#8 boyscout862 ONLINE  

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Posted August 27, 2016 - 09:20 PM

That is kool. I'm glad that you were able to get away from Connecticut. Most people here seem to be trying to get away. The business and economic climate are bad. One of the side benefits is that lots of old tools are coming out of storage and being put on CL. Unfortunately, there aren't many buyers when you want to sell an old GT. I hope you got a bargain. Good Luck, Rick


Edited by boyscout862, August 28, 2016 - 07:07 AM.

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#9 classic ONLINE  

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Posted August 27, 2016 - 09:57 PM

The traffic was pretty heavy at times, Rick. Lots of work being done on bridges, too. The guy I picked it up from wheels and deals all sorts of things and must have bought this tractor for cheap to sell it for 300. It sat in a barn and I could tell that it hasn't been started in a long time. As ugly as it is, the important things are in great shape. The rear wheels are actually pretty scarce and the rat rod guys look for them. They look great on an old plymouth rat rod with baby moons. The clutches are almost impossible to find, and so are the front split rims. The steering box is a Ross out of a Crosley car, the same as on the early Economy tractors, Mighty Mite tractors, and others. Can't get much for 300 these days, so it was well worth the trip. I will most likely install the electric start since it will be convenient. It has the short case Delco-remy starter generator, but it didn't work. I took it apart and found the brushes to be worn down to where the brush holders contacted the commutator. I put a near new set of brushes in it and it works fine now. It needs a few seals here and there, and hopefully I'll find the correct engine for it.
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#10 jpackard56 OFFLINE  

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Posted August 28, 2016 - 06:14 AM

Nice find :thumbs: Will watch your progress with interest. Thanks for saving a piece of history  :thumbs: 


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#11 HANKG ONLINE  

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Posted August 28, 2016 - 12:08 PM

Way to go Jim, SHE'S A KEEPER !
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#12 classic ONLINE  

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Posted August 28, 2016 - 01:10 PM

Thanks! I just cleaned up the rear rim with the shot tire and installed a new tire and tube. I robbed the tire from the other Gard'n Mast'r that I'm restoring. When I get a chance, I'll put the other tire on the rim, but for now, I just wanted to take the little tractor for a ride. The Wisconsin AB from the Bolens Gardener is a very smooth running engine and is only 3 horsepower. I had no problems climbing hills on the logging road near the house. I have to get the old muffler pipe out of the block so I can put the correct elbow and muffler on it. Everything seems to work fine and the drivetrain is quiet. The inside of the rims were never painted over and they are in really nice shape. Cleaned up, repainted, and some new seals, it will be ready to go.

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Edited by classic, August 28, 2016 - 01:13 PM.

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#13 classic ONLINE  

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Posted August 29, 2016 - 09:43 AM

I just found this under 3 layers of paint. There should be another on the other side and another on the front. I spoke with the man who had these decals reproduced, but he is sold out of them and has no plans of reproducing them again. I have a set of his decals, so I'll be looking for someone to copy them.

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Edited by classic, August 29, 2016 - 09:53 AM.


#14 PeterRoss OFFLINE  

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Posted September 04, 2016 - 09:01 PM

Hello,
I've been waiting for a current thread about these tractors.
Last spring I was looking for something to pull trailers around my shop and saw a Gard'n Mast'r Jr on RI CL. Wasn't what I was looking for but it looked so rare And price seemed so low I had to check it out.
The tractor was so clean I was shocked nobody bought it. The seller said he had posted the tractor for $750 without a call. He lowered to $500 and I was the only call. I recently tried to sell the tractor a week before the Washington County Fair in Richmond RI mid August without a single reply. Was mostly curious so I deleted the posting.
The tractor has a serial plate, is it possible to determine the date built from that plate?
Tires have dry rot but hold air, having trouble finding replacements.
It shifts and runs so well, simply amazing for it's age. I feel like it is being misused hauling sailboats around but makes for great pics.

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#15 PeterRoss OFFLINE  

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Posted September 04, 2016 - 09:06 PM

Build plate

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