Missouri or Bust
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 At the end of the summer Danny let me go to an auction alone. I was pretty good until bidding started on an item I hadn't even noticed. I was in the market for a rototiller but this item intrigued me because it had several attachments.

I won the bidding and imediatelyworried that I had just paid $60 for a bunch of old scrap metal.

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Kind people at the auction helped me load it up into the pickup. Danny was amused when I got it home. I started researching on-line to figure out what the heck it was. I came across some information on old garden tractors. It turns out to be a 2-wheel walk-behind Model W garden tractor made by Simplicity around the mid-60s. I found a yahoo groups website with a bunch of information about them and several collectors and restorers. Mine came with a plow, sickle mower, cultivator and sulky. This model has a rototiller attachment but I will probably never be able to find one, though I keep looking. Danny and I are trying to get it in shape for the garden this spring.

We tried to get the engine running. We removed and cleaned up the carb. We were able to run it for a few seconds before it died. We decided it would run with some adjusting and tuning, so we removed the engine and took the whole tractor entirely apart and opened the gear box. I was most concerned about the gear shifter. It hadn't been used for so long, it didn't want to go into gear. Once it was open, we were able to get the shifter to move and everything looked good inside. We ordered new seals for it and waited a couple weeks for the parts to come. Then closed it up and I went to work cleaning it up and painting everything. We had some old tractor paint that had been left behind in the basement. I hated to change the color from the original orange, but I also hated to buy new paint and let the old paint go to waste.

The tires and wheels on it were shot so I looked on ebay and craigslist for some inexpensive replacements. I bought a pair of wheels on ebay that cost $25 but the shipping was another $25. I priced new tires to put on them, but they would run between $100 and $150 for the pair so I kept looking. I put an ad on Craiglist. A guy offered me an old pair of tires and wheels for $25. They are not pretty, but they are holding air. If they last this season it will be worth it.

I started cleaning up the old Tecumseh engine. The plastic cooling fan had caught on something and gotten torn apart. It was a challenge getting the flywheel off with a makeshift wheel puller made out of some bolts and metal scrap from the barn. Once that was off we decided to replace the points and condenser. Another delay, as I waited for the parts to come. That meant having to re-time it and since we didn't have the specialty tools, we took off the cylinder head, that meant getting a new head gasket. I impatiently waited a week for the part to come in the mail. I put the engine back together, put it and the wheels on the tractor.

With a litte ether, we are able to get the engine running. Danny put it in gear and it took off. We still have a few adjust ments to make but I can hardly wait to see what it does in the garden.