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Wheel Horse RJ-58, RJ58 Ride-Away Jr.
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3.  3 - Restoration Continues in Pennsylvania
3 - Restoration Continues in Pennsylvania
    (June 01-12, 2009)


As previously stated, I posted pictures of this machine to once it had been retrieved from my sister-in-law's house. I was almost immediately contacted by Vince (63Panzer / VinsRJ) who had the entire front half of an RJ-58, minus the engine, for sale.

Vince had acquired this RJ some time ago and had since sold the transmission and rear wheels to someone else performing a restoration. When he saw my post he contacted me immediately. Vince lives in the Hartford CT area and the distance was a concern to me. Vince said that that was not a problem, since he and a friend would be coming to Philadelphia soon to pick up a piece of equipment from the Philadelphia Parks Department. He also stated that, if I wanted to buy it, he would happy to put the RJ on the trailer to deliver to me.

A few emails and pictures back and forth sealed the deal and set the date for Monday, June 01, 2009, just a day after my return to Pennsylvania from Tennessee. I met Vince in North Philadelphia that Monday and returned the parts machine to my shop that afternoon. Thank you Vince. This project would not be as far as it is if not for you and your transportation generosity. I am VERY grateful.
Left Front Quarter View Left Rear Quarter View Right Side View Under Hood View
Update (June 01, 2009): The "Parts Tractor" was picked up in North Philly and returned to the garage. Unfortunately I did not take a picture of the RJ front end before dis-assembly, but do have the original photos sent to me by Vince during our negotiations. The parts machine came complete, minus the engine and exhaust system components, and even contained the original Throttle Cluster with Cable and engine clamp, ON/OFF "Kill" Switch, Hitch Lift Cable, plus an additional (to me) Seat Spring. Each parts assessment is below, as it was removed from the parts machine;
  • Front Wheels: Both wheels appear to be in excellent condition with near original rubber (they look to be Suburban tires, rather than RJ). Further determination will be made after they are sent out with the other wheels for dismounting and bead-blasting of the rims. May or may not use these rims, or they may be retained as spares or parted out.
  • Front End (Axle) and Associated Parts: Castle Nut in pretty poor shape (wrench stripping on nut surfaces). Axle in Excellent condition (to be refurbished and retained as spares or parted out). Steering lug has been drilled out as noted below. This will require welding the holes closed, resurfacing and re-drilling to original hole sizes. Part to be retained as a spare or parted out. Tie Rod in excellent condition. To be refurbished and retained as spare or parted out. Steering Link in excellent condition. To be refurbished and retained as spares or parted out. Front Spindles (Left and Right) excellent condition, no major wear. To be refurbished and retained as spare or parted out. The "Clevis Pins Steering" are in sad shape. They area as bad as the ones on the original tractor. None of the four are usable, and new units will have to be manufactured from soft steel bar stock.
  • Steering Wheel and Steering Shaft Assemblies: Poor condition. Wheel Grip is in good shape and has no cracks or major wear, but the spokes are excessively loose in their sockets. Steering Shaft is in good shape except Steering Lug roll pin hole has been drilled out to accept a 1/4" bolt. Will have both welded closed and re-drilled back to a 1/8" roll pin configuration. The Shaft Collar is pretty beat up and will require replacement. Parts will be retained as spares and/or parted out at a later time.
  • Throttle Cluster Assembly: Throttle Cluster is original and in Good condition. Metal surfaces are rusted and need to be refinished. Taken down to bare metal and "chemically blued", chromed, or painted. Original beige handle is unblemished and intact (although is pretty time-dirty and has some red paint on it) and will only require cleaning and polishing. Cable, Sheath and engine mounting clip are also in Fair condition and may only require cleaning and lubrication. To be determined.
  • On/Off Switch: Not the original switch, but in good working order. Resistance reading of 0.00 & Infinite ohms in closed and open positions. Will only require cleaning and a coating of lacquer on the Bakelite case to return it to service. A ON-OFF placard will need to be procured prior to installation. Need to verify what the original ON/OFF placard may have looked like.
  • Hood: In Good-Excellent condition, with some minor denting on the horizontal surfaces (it appears someone had sat on the hood). There is no major damage, cracks, holes or seriously rusted areas anywhere on the piece. There is some minor pitting on the right side. The nose of the hood is in Very Good-Excellent shape and will not require much preparation for painting. The front mounting hole is not cracked, not worn, and is fully intact (this is a rare find, for sure).The forward tank strap is cracked on the left side near the spot weld. The strap will require removal. Some TIG welding work to fill the old spot weld holes, a new strap manufactured, and the strap spot welded into its original location will repair the hood. This unit will be used in the restore.
  • Fuel Tank Assembly: Fuel tank is in overall Excellent condition on the exterior surfaces. No dents, pitting or major rust. The interior has some rust and will require cleaning and reconditioning (PAR-15 Tank Restoration Kit required). The fuel opening is slightly dented and threads flattened, but is readily repairable. The Close Nipple on the underside of the tank is intact, sharp threaded, and not corroded. The fuel Sediment Bowl is missing and will require replacement. The Fuel Cap is included, but too badly dented and wear-worn to do anything with. It will be retained for no other reason than to have it. A new fuel cap is required, perhaps polished steel or chromed rather than repainted red? This unit will be used in the restore.
  • Attachment Lift Handle Assembly: The Lift Handle is in excellent condition and will be used on my restoration due to the VERY poor repairs performed to the the original tractors lift handle. The unit is unblemished and all parts, including Retaining Spring, internal Guide Cap, and Hand Grip are intact and will only require cleaning refinishing. Hardware items will need to be replaced with Stainless Steel parts.
  • Clutch/Brake Pedal and Rod: Excellent condition, only requires refinishing. Clutch Linkage Arm in excellent condition. Both pieces are extra parts so will be retained as a spares or parted out.
  • Frame: Excellent condition. Only 1 "extra" hole in the entire frame. The original Model/Serial number tag had been still affixed, but the model/serial number portion of the tag has been painted over some time in the past prior to its being repainted Orange. The full tag was later found inside the storage trailer and sent to me. Once cleaned teh original serial number was determined.  The decision must be made as to which frame will be used and which will be retained as a spare or parted out. I was leaning toward using the more pristine frame, but ultimately decided to use the priginal after welding the extra holes closed.
  • Lift Cable: Excellent condition. Will only require cleaning, lubrication of the cable and cable sheath, painting the cable sheath and the two ends,  and adding S/S clevis Pins and S/S Cotter Pins. Part will be used in this restoration.
Update (June 12, 2009): Located and purchased a "New Old Stock" original Sediment Bowl for installation in the Fuel Tank Assembly. Need to locate a plastic, fuel-safe, barb fitting prior to final assembly.

Last Updated: 2015-06-12 06:57:47 (4736 views)

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