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A 1948 Gibson SD tractor that will be saved.


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#1 classic ONLINE  

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Posted January 08, 2017 - 01:41 PM

Somehow, these rusty tractors seem to find me. I went for a road trip to pick up a Gibson tractor that's in pretty sad condition. The seller said that it wouldn't roll, so I didn't know what to expect once I started looking into it. I didn't know if the tractor was in original condition, or if the hood and fenders were added at a later date. The temps were in the low 20's, and we ran into a snow storm halfway into the trip. We had to drive 5mph down a very long winding hill since the road was very slick. The owner of the Gibson had a roll back, so we brought a trailer to offload the old Gibson from the roll back onto the trailer. Luckily, three of us were able to slide the tractor on the slippery snow from the roll back onto the trailer, and we were on our way. We took a different route home to avoid that hill and we made it home safely.
Well, this Gibson is a real mess, since it sat out in someone's yard for many years. The first thing I did was scrape the top of the frame to find the serial number. Sure enough, it is a true Gibson SD. The serial number is SD 33107. The Wisconsin AEH was built in July of 1948, and the date on the T-96 transmission looks to be 11-8. The drivetrain retains it's original red paint here and there, so I believe it's all original to the tractor. One interesting thing that I found was the lack of the Gibson, Longmont, and Colorado lettering on the rear end housing. I did some research and found that this is actually a modified Gibson model E rear axle. The ends of the housings and cast bracket on the rear lower part center section, have been milled off. I found this information on the Gibson tractor group on Facebook.
So, now I had to find out why the rear tires wouldn't turn. I must be nuts, because I went out in the cold last night to pull the top cover off of the transmission to have a look. I was expecting to see nothing but rust and ice. To my surprise, it actually looked pretty good, but there is some ice locking the cluster gear in place. At least the input shaft and main shaft look goo, so it's rebuildable. I went back in the house to warm up by the woodstove, but I just had to find out why the engine was locked up. I went back out expecting to snap off some head bolts and uncover a rusty bore. We'll the 6 head bolts came out fairly easily, and the cylinder looked clean. I grabbed ahold of what was left of the front engine pulley and got it to budge. Once the mouse nest and rust came loose, the engine was free. Back in the house I went feeling good that the engine and transmission can be saved.
I headed back out in the cold to pull the drain plug and filler plug, again expecting ice and rust. I pulled the filler plug and no ice, just old oil. The carrier looked clean through the filler hole, so that was a plus! I then pulled the drain plug, thick gear oil came out, and no ice....whew! I couldn't see the outer axle bearings since the wheels were in the way, so I reached in with my phone and snapped some pics. The right side bearing was in tact, but the seal ton the left hand side just fell out. This bearing was dry and rusted in place. I then jacked up the right side and was able to turn the axle just a little, and the pinion shaft moved a tiny bit. The pinion will not turn since the ice in the transmission has the output shaft locked up. At least I know that the rear end is most likely ok, except for the left side outer axle bearing. I'll be removing the rear end for disassembly when I get started on this restoration. Bearings, seals, gaskets, and brake bands will be replaced.
So, now that I pretty much have everything assesed, I can see that the tractor has good bones and is well worth restoring. The rear wheels are about rotted off of the tractor and the front wheels are the wrong ones. All of the wheels and tires will be replaced. The cast belt guard and dash are in great condition, but the hood and rear fenders will take some time to get them back in shape. The clutch assembly is complete and functions, along with the lift and steering components. It will take a lot of work to bring this one back, but it's right up my alley!

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#2 classic ONLINE  

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Posted January 08, 2017 - 01:46 PM

Here are the casting numbers on the rear axle housing, and pics of the outer axle bearings.

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#3 Jazz OFFLINE  

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Posted January 08, 2017 - 01:55 PM

Nice find,, I should go kick the tires on this lawn ornament I spotted a few months ago

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#4 classic ONLINE  

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Posted January 08, 2017 - 02:00 PM

A few more pics. I can see where there once was a Wisconsin engine decal on the front of the gas tank. I'll have to check the tank for leaks, but the pitting doesn't look too deep, and it doesn't look too bad inside.

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#5 classic ONLINE  

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Posted January 08, 2017 - 02:04 PM

That looks like a Gibson A rear in that lawn ornament, Jazz. I'm no Gibson expert, but that looks like a mix of a few different models, and an added steering column. Go get it!

#6 jimmy G ONLINE  

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Posted January 08, 2017 - 02:37 PM

Very nice find,I understand the checking it out In the cold,nothing wrong with a smile froze on your face (doubt the wood burner could fix that grin)
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#7 classic ONLINE  

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Posted January 08, 2017 - 02:42 PM

I'm just happy that there isn't anything that I can't fix on this tractor, jimmyG. I was expecting a whole lot worse as I started opening things up. At least I'm almost thawed out now, heh!
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#8 KennyP OFFLINE  

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Posted January 08, 2017 - 05:43 PM

Nice score on that one! Good luck with it!


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#9 classic ONLINE  

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Posted January 08, 2017 - 06:00 PM

Thanks Kenny! Luckily the tractor is not in as bad of condition as I thought it would be. The seller said that other people looked at it, but passed on it. On our way home, we stopped at a gas station to get some coffee, and a man pulled up and asked us if it was going to be scrapped. He was glad to hear that it wasn't, and that it would be restored. We'll the wind is howling here and it's pretty darn cold out. The temps will be on the rise next week, so I will tinker with it some more. I'm well under way with my '51 Baird Beaver restoration now, so I want to finish that before moving on to the Gibson.
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#10 jabelman OFFLINE  

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Posted January 08, 2017 - 06:57 PM

I'm just happy that there isn't anything that I can't fix on this tractor, jimmyG. I was expecting a whole lot worse as I started opening things up. At least I'm almost thawed out now, heh!

come on jim!! we all saw what you did with the junkyard economy!! we know your magic

keep your eye open for a beaver

Edited by jabelman, January 08, 2017 - 06:58 PM.

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#11 classic ONLINE  

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Posted January 08, 2017 - 07:13 PM

It's just nuts, bolts, and metal things, Jay. Just take it apart, clean off the grime, put it back together, and paint. It's real easy stuff, HA! This one will need some serious time and attention. Like the PK, one piece at a time.
I haven't seen any Bird Beavers for sale lately. Usually a few come up for sale, and then nothing for a while.

Edited by classic, January 08, 2017 - 07:18 PM.


#12 jabelman OFFLINE  

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Posted January 08, 2017 - 07:48 PM

haha, I still remember the look on the guys face when I bought his 60 db suburban and told him I was going going to restore it. I think he laughed the whole time I pulled out of his driveway! yeah there's something about the rustiest, crustiest passed over tractors that I am sucker for
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#13 LilysDad OFFLINE  

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Posted January 08, 2017 - 07:54 PM

Looks like a good project. Is there supposed to be a steering wheel?


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#14 classic ONLINE  

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Posted January 08, 2017 - 07:59 PM

Much can be done with some of the rusty ones. The rust bleeds over the paint making them look worse than they really are sometimes. One of the brackets on a rear rim fell off at some point, and I found it on the bed of the trailer today. The rear rims are in such bad shape that there's no fixing them. Now I have to at least try to find replacement Gibson wheel centers and outer rims.

#15 classic ONLINE  

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Posted January 08, 2017 - 08:06 PM

The Super D came with a steering wheel, hood, and fenders, but this is an SD, and they had tiller steering, along with the hood and fenders. My dash has the hump for a steering column, but there is a block off plate over the hole. I've only found one other SD like this, so I'm wondering if Gibson sold some SD tractors with the Super D dash and block off plate. I should check the back of the block off plate and see if there is red paint on it. As far as I can tell, the tractor looks all original.

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