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PeacemakerJack

The "Iron Horse" Restification--Dad's 875

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I hear you about the bad Winters up that way. I had Family in Weyerhaeuser/Bruce area. And the stories they told. Tough life. Dairy Farmers. I was there twice in the Summer and it was Beautiful.

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Wisconsin can see some pretty bad winters for sure but we don't get the same levels of snow as the land on the east of the Great Lakes (think Buffalo!). However, we do have beautiful spring, summer, and fall weather. It is just the other 10 months that are hard to deal with LOL!

Any thoughts or pictures on what size of Tri rib tires to use on the Iron Horse?

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It never ceases to amaze me how fast the months can fly by!  My mom had knee replacement surgery at the end of december and so taking care of her has understandably been his focus over the last 8 weeks.  She is thankfully getting better and sohe has begun to work on the Horse.  He has removed the tires from the rims, blasted the paint off and is priming and painting those now.  I have been really busy framing a house over the last several months too but I'm getting caught up and so I'm hoping to help him seriously on this project over the next 6 weeks. 

 

Please tune back in and I'll attempt to get more of the story told and post pics of the Restoration.  I've been looking through boxes of old 1980's pics trying to find more to post here.  It is funny how I can easily find the early pics from the 70's in the old slide trays, but the 3x5 pics are much more difficult to sift through...

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:greetings-clapyellow:  Looks like you've been busy too.  :chores-chopwood:  
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Great job:greetings-clappingyellow:. Is this going to be a worker or a cruiser? It'd be a shamed to get it dirty:o

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Great job:greetings-clappingyellow:. Is this going to be a worker or a cruiser? It'd be a shamed to get it dirty:o

As you can see from the above story, it has given us four decades of hard work and has earned some lazy days lounging around the corral!  However,  we will occasionally plow with it at some local plow days.  Mostly, it will be a show machine, parade tractor, and a wagon puller (grandkids in tow;)

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Dang! That's a 'purty tractir.' That was a great write-up about your family history along
with a magnificent bunch of photographs. Reading this thread made my day.
 
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That was a great write-up about your family history along


with a magnificent bunch of photographs.


 

If I can carve out the time from my crazy life...there are more stories to tell and many more pictures to share.  The iron horse has been in our family so long that the memories abound!  There is the time that I took the key as a little kid and hid it who knows where,  there is the effect that a timed RD deck can have on a vintage Schwinn bike when accidently backed over, there is the feel and sound of using the same machine for years and years.  After all this time, I've been at my own house for 15 years, when I get on that little tractor, it brings all those memories back.

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If you get time you must tell us some more stories, it seems you have a gift for it.

Love the tractor too, it's my favourite style.

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So what size tri ribs did you use? 

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Great job:greetings-clappingyellow:. Is this going to be a worker or a cruiser? It'd be a shamed to get it dirty:o

As you can see from the above story, it has given us four decades of hard work and has earned some lazy days lounging around the corral!  However,  we will occasionally plow with it at some local plow days.  Mostly, it will be a show machine, parade tractor, and a wagon puller (grandkids in tow;)

Have ya got a spot in the living room for it? Having lived in the same area most of my life I love your story!

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The Story:

After a winter and summer of the straight pipe, dad decided he had had enough of that and bought an IH Farmall Cub tractor muffler. Remember, he was working for an  IH dealership as a technician and received a price break on all IH parts.  Coming from a farming family, he liked the "tractor look" more than the original canister look. Amazingly, this is the muffler that is still on it today!  I'll have to take a close up picture of the embossed IH logo pressed into the rim of the muffler.  He just cut the straight pipe down to the correct length and clamped the new muffler on.
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Here dad is plowing his garden in the fall of about 1977 and this is also about the time that I was born. He said he would've loved to have a set of AG's for plowing back then but money was in very short supply for them. One thing I love about my dad, is his willingness to find a way to make something work with the resources at hand.  He already had the chains for snow blowing and that would give him the grip.  He now needed weight for traction and so he located a used flywheel laying out back at the dealership and was able to acquire that very cheap!  Now he had a 75 lb weight for the landside wheel.

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Here you can see a better picture of the "wheel weight"  and the heavily modified Bolens plow.  The plow itself has an interesting story.  It was a trade in unit with a Bolens tractor and they were going to scrap it out.  Dad asked if he could have it for his garden.  Obviously, the Bolens attachment system was totally different than the WH sleeve hitch and so more modifications were necessary.  Dad cut the long mounting frame off and welded on his own flat stock "tongue" to adapt it for use on his hitch.  The only major downside with this plow set up is that, unlike a Brinly, the Bolens plow has no adjustment for suck on the plow beam.  All the adjustment came from the frame that dad removed.  He must've done a pretty good job when he welded the "tongue" to the beam or got really lucky, because the plow does a decent job as you can see in these photos. Remember, he is plowing here with an 8hp engine, belt primary drive tractor!  I love that!  In this picture, you can also see that the tractor didn't come with the SG belt cover, dad found one of those later on and installed it.  Another thing I just remembered while looking at the first pic, dad would take the RD deck and back over the whole garden, kinda like a stalk chopper and chop everything up to prepare it for plowing.  That deck was so tough and still is to this day.  Dad said that he always wanted to make a disc harrow for cutting up garden stubble in the fall and knocking down the lumps in the spring but he never got that around to it.  So, the method that he chose got the job done and the Iron Horse was built strong enough to handle it!  

It's funny to me that I plow with my garden tractors today for recreation, dad did it back then out of necessity.  I'm sure he looked at it as a chore in those days but now we occasionally go together to a plow day where we are plowing a field for "enjoyment and relaxation" for the better part of a day!  It will be so much fun to get the horse back out in a garden or a field, hook up the old Bolens one bottom, and turn some earth just like dad has been doing for over 4 decades--that's a well built machine!!!


 

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Very next nice job on the refresh/restore. No sense mothballing a proven worker. Keep on working the beast. It will make a great family tradition for each generation to do a restoration!!!!

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Thanks guys for the positive comments!  The future of this tractor will be noted right here.  After all, the story goes on every day that we use it or give it rest!  

The Story:
I looked through many old slides and pictures to find the ones that I have posted here.  This is the first picture that I could find of me and the Iron Horse.  

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I was about nine months old at the time of this picture.  I've been into engines, cars, trucks, tractors, and pretty much anything mechanical my entire life.  Mom and dad tell me that as a little child, every time I would hear that single cylinder Kohler fire up, I wanted to be on the machine riding.  That tradition continues today with my youngest son who is now about 26 months old.  He loves to ride on the tractor.  I know that it isnt considered PC or "safe" to give a kid a ride on a tractor but...

Notice the 1966 IH Scout in the background.  That was purchased by dad as a means of transportation but also because it had a 6' plow for snow removal.  It would be in our family until 1992.  At that point, dad installed a light kit on the Iron Horse and modified yet another single stage snowthrower to clear the driveway with it.  Dad wishes to this day that he had kept that old truck too.  The only machine that he kept through the years though was the old wheel horse 875.

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Of course cutting lawn wan't the only time that I wanted to snag a ride!  Here dad is busting the clods from last fall's plowing.  "We" are getting the garden ready to plant.  Don't I look serious about the task at hand?

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What is ironic to me as I look at this picture is the fact that dad here is a dozen years younger than I am today.  The 875 was a tough tractor back then and it continues today.  PICT0241.thumb.JPG.fe6026cc777432e2bc1f4

Although the wheel horse isn't in this picture (It was parked just to the left of the screen), this is where I spent my time as a little dude, with dad in the garage.  I'm smiling because I'm looking at my reflection in the shiny Cardinal Red 1972 Pontiac Lemans right in front of me.  Or maybe it is because I was just "helping" dad rebuilding the old International four cylinder from his Scout on the saw horses behind me.  A couple of interesting notes to observe: the bolt rack behind me is the same one as you will see in the current resto photos (even though mom and dad moved about 20 years after this photo), as is the old Craftsman tool chest which a discerning eye will see the drawer just sticking in to the left of the screen, and you may also see that brown oil can in current pictures too!  Dad put a premium on getting good things and taking care of them.  They were built with pride and have endured my whole life, Including the Wheel Horse 875!

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So what size tri ribs did you use? 

Dad decided on Firestone 16x6.50-8. I like them!

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Here is the close up of the IH branded muffler that dad purchased 38 years ago!  We repainted it with a high temp paint and it is ready to go for another several decades.  It reminds me of that time that I wasn't paying attention driving under the old Apple tree...:no:

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:text-coolphotos:                             Great reminiscences, we want more.

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The Resto:

It will be a little strange writing this part of the story since we have finished the resto already but I will still write it in the present format.  Hopefully it will be easier to keep straight from the past story part of this thread.  There are many more stories to come and still a few more old photos and slides.  I keep "unearthing" them as I search through hundreds of old photos in my parents basement!  It should has been a ride down memory lane.  

I know it is mentioned here on this site many times over but make sure you take lots of pictures before you begin an every nut and bolt disassembly of your tractor.  Especially if you have never done it before!  You may think that you could NEVER forget how it goes back together, BUT...:blink: 

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I will make some casual observations about some of these prerestoration shots:  Notice the duct tape holding the SR handle to the steel lever.  Dad didn't want to lose it and so it was a quick "temporary" fix that went on in about 1995!  

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Notice the "boat" light attached to the back of the tool box.  I remember after we sold the IH Scout in 1992 (a decision that we all regret to this day), dad needed to place the Horse back in primary snow removal duty.  Much of that is done in darkness, either before or after work.  So, we went to our local store and picked up a fog light kit for the front and this light for the back.  The switch to operate it was drilled into the tunnel cover.

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Here you can see the effects of 25 years of hard use by two boys!  The tractor was always stored inside and well maintained.  I wish I could say that we never abused it but that would be a lie!  I'm pretty sure that all the while we cut the lawn with it, my brother and I went from full reverse to full forward in one simple motion.  It was worked!

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Here you can see the bite marks on the steering wheel from the only other owner this machine ever had and that would be dating back to the early 70's.  The switch where the cigarette lighter used to be is what operated the fog lights

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They don't build them like they used to!  This is the original delco-remy SG.  Up to this restoration it had never been rebuilt and was still doing its job.  Dad replaced the regulator back in the early 80's but this thing had never been serviced during the last 50 years!


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That 875 decal is the original and in great shape.  We are going to tape it off and keep it!  
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A keen eye will pick up Cub yellow under some of the parts.  Dad worked at the IH dealership and so there were times that he was able to get a necessary part from the used stash there...
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That old Sundstand is a great hydro!  I can't say enough good about it!

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Not a big fan of the Fram "oil filter"!  We will replace it with a correct Hydraulic filter before the restoration is finished!

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A discerning eye will notice the cast stamp above the pulley on the engine.  Dad repowered this tractor in 1979 with a 12hp K301 designed for generator usage.  That enormous oil pan holds nearly 3 quarts of liquid gold to keep this engine lubed and running cool!
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The original exhaust elbow that dad made to hold his "then new" IH Cub muffler.  It served the purpose for 30 years plus but that will get discarded and a new one made that is cleaner looking and promotes better exhaust flow!  

These detail shots show you our starting point but every scuff and scratch tells its own story and we will continue to cover some of those along the way. Stay tuned in...:D

 

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image.thumb.jpg.c95f7cd219d4a6945a2f49c0SPOILER ALERT!  Dad texted me this afternoon and said he used the Iron Horse to pull his old JD yard sprayer! I guess a "horses" work is never finished...

 
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wow that was quick work!  we need more spoiler pictures, or a debut or something

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I really can't believe how time flies!  Apparently I'm better at finishing projects than finishing writing about them!  Dad's tractor has been finished for about a year now but I haven't finished the story.  I just found some more slides of the Horse from the 1980's and I was reminded about this thread leaving everyone hanging.  I'll try to get back at it tonight and begin to tell the rest of the story...

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THE RESTO:

 

The disassembly continues---

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Its always interesting to take something completely apart that hasn't been that way in over 30 years.  You see the grime and the gunk and the wear spots.  There are things that look much worse than you thought and many things that just plain have held up amazingly well for a machine that was used so hard for so long.  In this pic you can see the afforementioned rear light toggle switch installed into the tunnel cover.  That switch will be removed and the hole filled as part of the restoration.  

 

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Dad had installed grease zerks in both front rims.  As i mentioned on the first page of this thread, he was fastiduous about us greasing the tractor "every time" that we took it out to cut the lawn or till the garden.  The front wheel bearings are all in good shape yet as are the front spindles and pivot pin.  We pulled one of the original front tires to assess the condition of the rims inside and out...

 

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These two pics bring an interesting story to mind.  Notice the bite sized chunk out of the back right hub?

 

THE STORY: In about 1976-7 dad was plowing the garden with the Horse and the ground was dry and tough.  He was frustrated at not being able to keep the old Bolens plow in the ground.  So he decided to stand on the plow and put a knee on the driver seat.  Now the plow was sucking into the hard red clay down fairly deep but the tractor was just spinning.  So, being the farm boy that he was, dad would lift the plow a little while backing up some, then slam the SR lever forward and drop the plow just as he got to the right place and it would carve out some more of that big tough clumpy soil.  You can imagine the shock on everything in the tractor when dad repeatedly did this.  After about an hour dad did it one more time and he heard a loud bang and suddenly the tractor wasn't moving hardly at all!  Long story short, he managed to bust some of the gears in the rear end.  He went to the local WH dealer to get parts.  There was a crusty old guy in there who had been working with Horses since the RJ's were new.  He said that he had never heard of that happening with a hydro horse.  He had seen it with GD horses but not with hydros.  As you can imagine, he had to disassemble the rear end and rebuild it.  Fortunately, he was able to get all the parts he needed.  However, that one hub was stubborn to get removed and he managed to break a chunk out of it while pulling it off.  We could replace it as part of the resto but honestly it isn't hurting anything and it will always be a reminder to me of that story.  I plan to inherit this tractor one day down the road and I'll always think of that story every time that I see it!

 

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This is Zach.  He is getting that WH blood in his veins as he watches us work on the Iron Horse.  He wants one of his own.  I think a GT-14 would suit him well, don't you?

THE RESTO:

 

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Now that the engine is out of the way, we are beginning to asses the condition of wear parts on the tractor.  The worst so far is the steering gear.  I estimate that this tractor has between 1500-2000 hours of use from plowing to cutting to snow removal and much more.  It is surprising that it works at all.  We are going to have to address those gears for sure.  Next up, disassembly of the front axle.

 

 

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So, I was talking with dad about the rear end explosion and he thought that it took place a little later on.  And then we struck pay dirt!  He had kept the receipt from when he purchased those parts back in the early 80's.  The story is correct but the date was 1983.  Apparently the rear failed in the fall of '82 and dad rebuilt it in the spring of 1983 before cutting season was to begin...

 

Wheel Horse Receipt.jpg

 

I';m drooling over the prices of those parts!  6 gears, 2 gaskets, 1 belt, and 1 blade for $178.21 with tax included!

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You should haul that beauty up to Symco 7/29 -7/31 and show it off a little.

Edited by achto
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