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1951 Baird Beaver transaxle repair.


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#1 classic OFFLINE  

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Posted December 15, 2016 - 04:49 PM

Well, I was looking for a rebuildable Wisconsin AKN for a Gard'n Mast'r JR tractor and ended up dragging home a Baird Beaver. I inquired about some Beaver tractors that were about an hour away in hopes that the seller just had a spare AKN engine laying around. He said no, but he had one on a Beaver tractor and would sell the whole thing for a good price. I asked him to email me pics of the engine, so that I could make sure that the cooling fins on the block weren't rusted away. When he sent the pics, I recognized his email, and it was Peter Zander. For those who don't know, Peter is the go to guy when it comes to Beaver tractors. We arranged a time to meet up, then my Cousin and I went to pick up the tractor. When we got to the tractor, it was parked with some other Beaver tractors that looked mainly to be parts doners. I look the engine over and it seemed like a good rebuild candidate. The carb and air cleaner were missing, but I had some parts at home to use. Part of the front end was buried under dirt, and a large rock was laying on the tierod and front axle. After talking for a while and throwing a stick for Pete's dog, he grabbed his Kubota and we drug the Beaver out of the Barn. Pete drug it about 100 yards to my Cousins van, and we pushed it up the ramps and headed back home.
The next day, I pulled the head off of the engine and had to cut the valve seats and set the lash. The exhaust valve was stuck open, and the exhaust seat was badly pitted, but cleaned up ok. After bolting the head back on, the engine had great compression, but no spark. I took the magneto apart cleaned everything, and got good spark after that. I took a carb and gas tank from another engine, bolted them on, and the Wisconsin fired up. I took it for a short ride, but the old dried up drive belt was starting to shred and fall apart. After looking the machine over good, I thought that it would be a shame to use the engine on something else, since the Beaver was restorable. The tractor is mostly complete, and fairly easy to restore, so I started disassembling it. I planed a complete overhaul of the engine, so I started checking over other things. The one thing I noticed when I removed the drive belt, was the slop in the jackshaft in the transaxle. I never had one of these transaxles apart, so I disassembled it to see what the problem was. Everything looked in great shape except for the jackshaft and bronze bushings. I took the jackshaft assembly apart to get some measurements, since I knew that I wasn't going to find replacement parts at the mower shop. The jackshaft itself is 3/4" diameter, and the bushings are 3/4" i.d. x 1" o.d. the 10 tooth sprocket is welded to the jackshaft and uses #40 chain. I found an NOS Simplicity 32" snowblower shaft with a woodruff key cut at one end and it was more than long enough to make the new jackshaft. I found a 10 tooth sprocket with a 3/4" bore that wasn't quite right, but would work with some modifications. The bushings are a standard size and we're easy to find. I also found a new left over 6' length of Diamond USA #40 chain for a good price. I cut the snowblower shaft to length then went to work on the sprocket. I had to grind the portion of the sprocket hub off with the set screw since the hub was way too wide. The outer diameter of the sprocket hub was too small, so I had to make a press on sleeve to go over the hub. If I didn't sleeve it, the sprocket hub would have worn the end of the bronze bushing in the housing and caused future problems. Anyway, I found a steel bushing with the correct i.d. in my junk box, but the o.d. was way too large. I don't have my old lathe set up, so I had to do everything with a bench grinder and files. The steel bushing fit snug on one of the old bronze bushings, so I used the bronze bushing as a holder while I ground down the steel bushing on the grinder. After a few hours of tedious work, the sprocket is ready to weld to the shaft,and the transaxle can go back together. The last thing I needed was another tractor project, but this one is a fairly simple one. It will get a complete restoration, and I'll drag it off to some shows next season. Here's a few pics of the tractor and the Jackshaft assembly where you can see the badly worn bushing and rusty worn shaft.

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Edited by classic, December 15, 2016 - 06:31 PM.

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#2 classic OFFLINE  

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Posted December 15, 2016 - 04:57 PM

Here's the replacement shaft assembly all made up, so now I just have to weld the sprocket on. In the second to the last pic, I used the end of the old shaft as a holder and a guide to grind the sprocket hub as flat as possible. A lathe would have saved a bunch of time.

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Edited by classic, December 15, 2016 - 05:08 PM.

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#3 classic OFFLINE  

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Posted December 15, 2016 - 05:11 PM

Here is the Simplicity shaft and Diamond sprocket that I used. The third pic shows what the sprocket looked like before modifying it.

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#4 jms180 OFFLINE  

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Posted December 15, 2016 - 05:14 PM

Nice work you do thank for the post and nice pictures


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#5 classic OFFLINE  

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Posted December 15, 2016 - 06:17 PM

Thanks jms180, and your welcome. I'm sure that there are other Baird Beaver tractors with the same problem. Someone else may be able to use this info to fix their machine.
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#6 Tbrooks OFFLINE  

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Posted December 15, 2016 - 10:23 PM

It looks like you have the same dumb luck that I have! You look for parts to finish one project just to drag home another. Fun little tractors, it takes a bit of getting used to the clutch. Forward is engaged and back is disengaged. Also they can be a little tippy because of their narrow stance. Good luck on the project. Looks like it is in good hands.
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#7 classic OFFLINE  

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Posted December 16, 2016 - 12:37 AM

Thanks Tbrooks. It does seem to go that way when parts hunting sometimes, but that's how it goes. I did some reading about these Baird Beaver tractors a while back and eventually picked one up from '55. I was curious to see how they were built after reading the history behind them. It is a small narrow tractor, but heavy for it's size and well built. I installed new belts on the '55, adjusted the foot pedal, and it functions very well. I like the earlier models like this '51 I'm working on better than the later models with the red grips, grill, and red hood. I found knobs for the tiller and lift handle for the '51, since they were missing. This Wisconsin AKN is my first Wisconsin rebuild, and I have just about all of the parts to rebuild it now. Most everything is worn beyond spec in this engine, but I was pretty much expecting that. Parts hunting for these Wisconsins is a bit more difficult than the old cast iron Briggs engines, but the parts are out there. Here's a pic I ran across while searching and I got a kick out of it. It's got to be from the late 40's, I would think.

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#8 HANKG OFFLINE  

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Posted December 16, 2016 - 08:06 AM

Great job Jim, you are an amazing engineer.


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#9 classic OFFLINE  

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Posted December 16, 2016 - 08:26 AM

Thanks Hank. Basically, it was just a matter of finding parts to modify to make things work. I felt like one of those guys from India filing out car parts in a dirt floor hut when I made this, heh! I'm setting up a small shop over next summer to make these types of repairs a bit easier. There are lots of old NOS parts available on ebay to make something like this and usually they are US made and fairly cheap. It's great to get something working again where the parts are no longer available, and it's one of the best parts of the hobby.
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#10 jabelman OFFLINE  

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Posted December 16, 2016 - 09:56 AM

awesome job as usual jim. always enjoy reading your posts. there's no greater satisfaction than dragging home a piece of scrap and turning it into work of art that you can run and drive.
your right about the fun of the hobby the chase of the parts, the people you meet and late nights of fabricating parts.

the beaver tractor is on my short list hope to add one someday to the fleet.
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#11 classic OFFLINE  

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Posted December 16, 2016 - 11:57 AM

Thanks Jay, and I have to agree with you. I've met alot of good people that are in the hobby and also when picking up parts and tractors. The Beaver tractors turn up for sale once in a while, so just keep your eyes peeled.Give me a shout if you run across one, since there are a few things to check out before buying one. They are one of the most unique looking garden tractors in my opinion, and they don't take up much space.




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