I have been working on the Struck off and on since I first posted, but haven’t taken the time to put out an update. I am actually nearing the finish line on this project, but now that I know some of my repair work will actually result in a functional machine, I figured it was a good time to post what I’ve learned to help others who might have similar projects now or in the future.
My original thought for this project was to just get it working mechanically and not really worry about how it looked. There was some pretty heavy rust and pitting in places, so it wasn’t practical for me to do a full-blown refurb on it anyway. To get it working, I was going to have to buy/make the missing parts. There is no model markings on the tractor, but I thought it most looked like the image on the MD40/45 manual, so I downloaded it from Struck’s website and used the parts list to figuring out what I was missing.
It looked like replacements could be purchased for all the belts and pulleys I was missing. I also decided I would be better off with some new self-aligning bearings. I was able to pull a part number off the self-aligning bearings I had, and ordered some new SealMaster 725520 L-10 bearings. The manual said they steering idler pulleys were 2”, so I ordered some Stens 280-024’s that seem to match the specs of the originals. For the 4 drive belts, I got some Gates 6850 belts. With all these other new pulleys and bearings, I decided to also get a new drive belt idler pulley, for which I used a Stens 280-263. Between Amazon and Ebay, I was able to find the parts I needed and fortunately none were terribly expensive.
The remaining belt I needed was the drive belt. Before I could order that, I had to figure out what engine I was going to use. It would have had a H70 Tecumseh originally, but that motor was long gone. A running 8HP Briggs (and the original drive pulley) came with the tractor. Having had a Wheel Horse with an H70, I could tell that the Briggs was a little larger than the original Tecumseh. I tried it, and it did fit inside the Struck body, but there wasn’t much room to spare. Also, with it positioned where I thought it needed to be, the front motor mount bolt holes were out past the front of the bottom pan.
It wouldn’t have been that hard to create a way to mount the Briggs, but since I also had a spare Kohler K181, I thought I would give that a try. The height and length of the Kohler was a good fit for the Struck, but I didn’t expect to have an issue with width. The inside width of the Struck body is 16”, and the K181 from pull start cover to end of crankshaft was over 15 ½”. So, it fit, but just barely, and didn’t leave any room for belt service or dozer blade lift linkage.
In the end, I wasn’t all that crazy about either engine option, so I decided to move on to something else and see if a Tecumseh popped up that would make for an easier installation. So, I moved on to the parts I needed that I couldn’t buy.
There may be some information on the Strucks that is lacking, but Struck Corp. providing prints to make all the parts for the early models in the manual is pretty nice. Even better is the fact that most of the parts are pretty simple to make. I am by no means an expert metal worker or welder, but I was able to make the steering lever cross shaft, the track expander struts, and all the belt guard “fingers” that were missing. Even though I had the axles, they were very heavily pitted and grooved in the rotating areas, so I got some new 7/8” 1045 steel rod from onlinemetals.com and made some new axles.
While had the tools out for making parts, I also needed to make a few repairs. I welded in some reinforcement strips inside the body where there were quite a few rust holes, and then filled the holes ith weld from the outside. My welding isn’t that pretty under good conditions, so welding inside the body was definitely a challenge. At least on the outside I could clean it up with the grinder.
The final area of repair was the seat. The seat was welded to the body at the factory., It looks like virtually no paint made it’s way between the body and the seat because a considerable part of that area was so heavily pitted it was rusted through. The seat was also bent, probably from something heavy being set on top of it. I cut the seat off, pounded it back into shape, and fabricated a bolt-on mount for it so I could clean up the rusted area and have a way to actually get some paint on it.
That’s probably more than enough of an update for now. I will try to get another segment of the process posted in a few days.