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2.  2 - Aquisition and Assessment
2 - Aquisition and Assessment
    Acquired and Initially Assessed (May 15, 2009)

My wife and I retrieved the tractor from her sister's house on May 15, 2009, just a day or two of our arrival in Tennessee. Upon delivery to my father-in-laws house, I parked the tractor in front of his garage as you see it depicted in the images below (click on any of the images in this article to view a larger version of the image). The initial walk-around assessment was performed with the parts breakdown in hand. I discovered  all of the missing and/or damaged components, and created a list of items needed to complete the tractor. Except as noted, all of the existing parts are original vintage and in excellent or repairable condition.

  • Hood - missing
  • Fuel Tank and Cap - missing
  • Engine - missing
  • Exhaust System - missing
  • Attachment Lift Handle - present, but VERY poorly repaired (cobbled together actually)
  • Frame - Complete, but had many engine and mounting holes drilled into it which were not original
  • Serial/Model Number Sticker - missing (but was reported as being there when purchased, later found in the storage trailer and returned.)
  • Snow Plow Attachment Bar - incorrect bar style (looks to be cobbled together as well)
  • Snow Plow Skid Shoe - one present, one missing
  • Draw Bar Hitch - original hitch is present but missing Lift Cable, Cable Clamping Lug, mounting Pin (Pin had been replaced with a very large nut and bolt)

I posted the images below on www.MyTractorForum.com that night and almost immediately got a response from Vince (63Panzer, aka VinsRJ) in Connecticut, stating he had all the parts I needed to complete this tractor. He also informed me that he and a friend would be driving to Philadelphia in a few weeks, and he could bring the parts tractor with them for a hand off. A few emails back and forth, and the plan was set to meet on June 1, 2009 in North Philadelphia.

Wheel Horse RJ58 Side            View Wheel Horse RJ58 Front            View Wheel Horse Attachment            Lift Handle Wheel Horse            Transmission
Wheel Horse            Transmission Wheel Horse Front            Wheel Wheel Horse Rear Wheel Wheel Horse Seat Pan            and Frame
Wheel Horse Seat Pan            and Bar Hitch
Original decal: # 11916
(Click any of the images
for a larger view)

Several decisions were made during the walk-around assessment;

1) My immediate decision was to restore this machine to it's original "Wheel Horse Dealer - Show Room Floor" condition and make it look, as closely as I can, as it did when the first owner purchased the tractor in 1958. This would require locating replacement parts for the missing components, and  a complete restoration of each component, back to its original condition. No short order for this vintage machine!

2) All components would be stripped to bare metal, cleaned, repaired or replaced as necessary, then primed and repainted in its original Wheel Horse color. It was later determined that I would us Valspar - Restoration Series - "IH (Inteational Harvester) Red" and Sherwin Williams "Antique White" as appropriate. These two paints, in my opinion, are extremely close color matches to the original Wheel Horse Red and Wheel Horse Linen colors.

NOTE 1: It should be noted that I used four primary processes to prepare all parts for priming. 1) Old paint and surface rust is mechanically removed using a wire wheel; 2) followed by sand blasting (only if necessary, and depending on its configuration and/or my ability to strip hard to reach areas, etc.); 3) any parts requiring further rust abatement are subjected to electrolysis cleaning (see this article for further details: Click Here); and 4) an array of methods used to retu the part to original condition which include straightening, re-forming, welding, sanding, grinding, etc.; 4) and finally each part is thoroughly cleaned with "Metal Prep" and dried before priming (all parts are primed within 1 hour of step #4, even if it means drying the part with a heat gun).

NOTE 2: For the sake of a quick explanation; Electrolysis cleaning is performed by passing electrical current (using a 2 Amp battery charger) through a part while soaking the part in an electrolyte solution (baking soda and water). The electrical current passing between the anode (negative pole connected to the part to be cleaned), through the electrolyte solution, and to the cathode (positive pole connected t the sacrificial steel plate and/or rebar rods) causes the rust (iron oxide) to detach and bubble away while not effecting the underlying good metal. There are significant hazards associated with using this process, so PLEASE read the previously mentioned article for further details and safety considerations.

3) Wherever possible, and without changing the intended purpose, appearance, or configuration of the item in question; substitution, addition, or modification of the tractors hardware and/or configuration would be made in order to promote and/or protect the tractor's restored longevity. Two examples of this are replacing all hardware items (i.e. Nuts, Bolts, Washers, Cotter Pins, Zerk Fittings, etc.) with stainless steel hardware rather than ordinary steel parts. An example of an added "enhancement" is the installation of Teflon washers between the Clutch/Brake Pedal and the Attachment Lift Handle to prevent part-to-part wear and paint damage. So long as the modification is performed to protect the machines longevity, functionality, and/or overall appearance, and does not change the original configuration; I believe this is an acceptable trade-off to the original factory configuration.



Last Updated: 2017-08-15 15:20:14 (5943 views)