This is my running Montgomery Ward " Trail Blazer" 1931 vintage T Tractor Conversion. The T part is from many years and the story that I got when I bought it was it was in a small museum in Oregon that closed and the former owner bought it. He didn't know what it was but with Donnie Browns help he identified it and even had advertisements from Montgomery Ward. I have since removed the wooden seat and bed and installed two tractor seats and am going to make a wood bed for it. I have made some steps but don't have them riveted on yet. It has the accessory front wheels that could be bought with the kit.
Link to previous T Conversion Tractor and Doodlebug (Part III) - which was getting too long.
Jim - that is a fantastic looking tractor!! Someone did a beautiful job shaving those back wheels and adding the rubber. Really clean looking job.
Think that was a great call on the tractor seats. You need to post some more pictures of her with those seats and as the bed build progresses.
Very nice example! I love that the picture makes it look like you were just cruising through town. I suspect there was a parade or some event somewhere near by?
I was looking at the rubber too. Do people just sawzall the side wall off or bring a tire to someone who does retreads to cut the tread off with their machine or do they just buy a new tread strip that has never been vulcanized to a carcase? I suppose all are plausible.
Jim, glad to see your Trail Blazer. Here is an ad for the tractor kit offered by Montgomery Ward. Jims (and also my tractor conversion) is the small wheeled version with an internal tooth bull gear. They were made for Montgomery Ward by the Peru Wagon and Wheel Co. Shaw made them for Montgomery Ward in 1929 and are almost like the Peru tractor kits. Then in 1930 and 31 Montgomery Ward dropped the Shaw version and it appears Peru Wagon and Wheel Co almost stole their design from Shaw. The internal tooth bull gear was a bad design as it traps dirt in the gear teeth. So in 1932 (possibly late 31) they changed to an external tooth bull gear that "sheds" dirt not "traps" it. The external tooth design made larger rear wheels necessary. The large rear wheel design stayed in production till around WW2 era. My "roller pinion gears" were missing on my kit. Jim sent me measurements so I could make me a pair of "roller pinions" Thanks Jim .... Here is a pic of my roller pinions I made..
This is the ad for the Shaw version of 1929
This is the large wheel Peru Wagon and Wheel Co. 1932 and later
This is the only pic I could find of my 1930 or 31 conversion. All my pics of my tractor are on my old computer that was hit by lightening
The rubber for the wheels are " Bandag " retread material and they are just bolted on with 1/4" bolts thru the tread. Some one in the past tried to glue the front ones on but it didn't last. When you put it on you have to kind of stretch it a little as you bolt it on and use bolts on both edges of the tread. The rear treads are for winter truck tires and the front are smaller road tread. One difference between Donnie's conversion and mine is my rear wheels have timken taper roller bearings like a front wheel has instead of just bushings on a shaft. It would be a big improvement because it holds the wheel in one place as it goes around and there isn't any side to side slop as with the bushings, the roller drive pinion doesn't allow much runout on the drive gear.
Here is the front wheel.
Jim, beautiful conversion. Always wondered about the rubber tread I see on steel wheel tractors.
BTW, the thread is mislabeled as Part VI (6), it should be Part IV (4). I think when we get to part 6 (which will happen by what I see), we'll name that one part 4 just to keep in the spirit, LOL.
Chad, I have seen some tractor tread on steel wheels where they found a rubber tire with the right diameter and just cut the sidewalls off and bolted on the tread. It just depends on what you have available. Good catch on the 6 instead of 4. My bad. There used to be a lot of tire retreaders around when we had bias ply tires but they have mostly gone away with the radials. Jim
Donnie - I sent you some things via email.
Got my "new" front wheels/tires mounted today.
First I centered the adapter, drilled holes through the hub and adapter and pinned it with roll pins to keep the concentricity.
Then I drilled the rest of the hub holes to 1/2" and installed grade 8 bolts and modern lug nuts to hold the hub on.
Then I bolted up my '35 Chevy Truck wheels. As I mentioned before, I used some Temporary Spare tires as they are way cheaper and I'll never get past the speed rating on them.
Snapped a couple of shots today, I think it is starting to come along nicely.
She is looking great!!! Boy do those floorboards work!!
Replaced the clutch in my '30 AA ("Klam Digah") this weekend (new clutch disk, rebuilt pressure, new throwout). She was down all last pulling season while I waited on a rebuilt pressure plate, so I am very, VERY happy to have the Klam Digah back (AA with two four-speed transmissions and a Diamond T cement truck rear end, she is a BEAST):
Ron, is that shortened on the width? That thing is a beast every time I see pics of it. The weather is finally starting to break and let us get out and do things.
Chad - no, she's full width of a AA. Runs on a straight pipe - LOUD. Scares the hell out of people when I fire her up.
Klam Digah is all reassembled, so this weekend I pulled the front wheels of the '27 T/IHC mower conversion to mount the new tires. The wheels are T, cut down to fit an 18" rim. It had a set of ancient, petrified set of Firestone S-3 motorcycle tires. Cut those off and replaced them with a new set of Dunlop vintage motorcycle tires - tread pattern was nearly identical to the 70+ year old set that had been on there. Came out pretty good and were the easiest set I've ever mounted for a T:
Nice job Ron ....
Thanks Donnie - I'll take a couple with the wheels mounted on the tractor.
Began the cleanup on the power unit this weekend - trying to have it ready for a show at the end of June:
"trying to have it ready for a show at the end of June"
Ron, is that the Orange Airport show?
That's it Bill! The T is the featured vehicle of this year's show. It's the only show that's close enough to allow me to make multiple turns and bring the entire fleet. I'll have my '25 Shaw conversion, '27 doodlebug and possibly the '27 T/IHC mower conversion there - along with my As and, hopefully, the power unit.
You must live real close to be able to bring multiple trailer loads. It's 2.5 hours for me.
Still debating on this show, I really want to go, but also found it is the same weekend as another annual event (modern car racing) that I attend every year with a friend of mine. Decisions....
Ron, are those front wheels brake drums turned inside out?
About 15 miles away. I take the day off before the show and turn and burn all day.
Those front wheels ARE brake drums turned inside out! Rear axle is a set of front spindles bolted to the frame. Front axle is T, cut to 1/3 it's normal size and flipped upside down to get the right level for the unit. Utterly unique.
Chad, Looks like brake drums to me. I like the idea of the drums for wheels for some of my engine carts. I think you could use 26-27 large drums for the rear and small drums for the front. That may give enough difference for a "swivel" plate for the front steering. I like it ...
Donnie, it's a great use for the drums if you have some that are beyond roadworthy use.
Some closeups of front and rear axles (Donnie, the firewall on there is the one I got from you):
The splice job on that wishbone is just a work of art. Someone put a lot of time and thought into the construction of this rig - all the cuts very clean. No welds to speak of, everything bolted together.
Nice cart, as you said lots of thought. The motorcycle tires look great too. I'd love to come out to the show, but with #4 coming in June there is no chance, maybe next year.
Zac - did you go get the new tractor yet? We need pictures - lots of them - if you did.
Zac, will you be attending the Gasup in Gallupville? I plan on being there. Our club has it's June meeting held there too.
Ron, no sorry just too much going on.. maybe next weekend, hopefully.
Chad, maybe on the 13th? My first child was born the Wednesday after going to the Gasup in 2010, we are expecting our 4th child to arrive around the second weekend of the Gasup this year.... we will see.
Our planned attendance is on Sunday the 14th. Rain date of the 21st.
Continued the cleanup on the power unit today. Mounted the rear wheels I refinished this winter. I pulled the front end, wire-wheeled it, linseed oiled it, reassembled and reinstalled it. More pics tomorrow.
Anxious to see this ones done. Looking real good Ron.
Front axle is marked DB in an oval - Dodge Brothers - so they used a fairly early one.
Need to unbolt the PTO pulley, clean it and hit the rear crossmember with linseed oil next.
Had some mongrel gas tank when I bought her. Don Lang had this oval one with a perfect matching patina. I built the uprights out of red oak and mahogany over the winter (aging them to match). All mounted today:
Few more pics from today _ radiator shell in last pic was just sitting on it so I could get a few alignment checks. She's got a brand new BERG'S radiator waiting on her in the garage.
Holy cow that thing is awesome looking. Great job fixing her up.
I have started gathering pieces for mine to build, it just may not be as period correct as yours though. Not even sure what I am going to use it for when I am done.
I never let a lack of utility stop me from buying/making something interesting!
A friend just got a T engine.
He pulled the trans cover and all that's in there is a flyweight governor...no trans.
Gov is hooked to the high gear clutch linkage with a rod to the carb.
Anybody seen one like this?
I'll try to get a pic.
Bob - I would very much like to see a picture of that. All the governors I have ever seen have been externally mounted - would be interested to see how this one is connected to the high gear and how it is housed in the transmission.
How is the Fon-Du-lac coming along?
The guy I got the Fond-Du-Lac from removed a bull gear in 1960 so he could move it.
He's sure he knows where it is but???
So I made one but haven't put it on.
I think when it fires up I want my foot on the brake.
There's no starter on it and I've tried to hand crank it but no go.
I need to stick a starter on it, and that's about where I am.
Bob, I too would like to see a picture of that governor setup. I have an external flyball/fan combination that I picked up I plan to use.
I too was thinking of gutting the trans and just running a straight shaft out the hogs head. I was actually trying to figure a way to shorten the hogs head even more so just the flywheel/sump area was all that was there.
Talking about govenors - here's one that I pulled off an engine - could be had with the special v-belt & pulley - $50 shipped ! Thought I'd throw it out here with all you tractor folks.
Can't spell "governor" !
I'd be interested to see that governor arrangement too Bob, sounds interesting (probably a let down if your friend was going to try to use the engine for a vehicle!).
Chad, might I suggest if you want a stationary engine, but have nothing to run maybe you should consider making some sort of "do nothing machine" for it to run.
When I was young my father got me "making mechanical marvels in wood" by Raymond Levy it has some interesting things that might be edited and supersized to be run by an engine?
Here is another potential:
-They wouldn't have to be made from wood, maybe some collection of old parts? go raid an old farm for old machinery to re-purpose? Just some thoughts. ]
I have a pulley for a T-engine but not really anything to run so I have been thinking about possibilities.
Steve -- A few years ago it was spelled "Govenator."
He planned to use it in a car but I think I talked him out of it.
I told him to find this thread.
Funny, Mike ! I answered a fellow a while ago with "I'll be baaccch" !
Steve, do I understand that you're selling that fan governor for fifty dollars? If so, I'll buy it. Bob
Looks as though Bob just found a governor ! Thanks MTFCA !
I wish we weren't on opposite coasts - I'd happily spend a day or two lending you a hand to get her going - very unique tractor. I love the fact that she is TT-based.
Do you have a pulley and coupling for your project?
I do not have a pulley for a drive belt yet. I like the deal where the pulley is located immediately off the 4th main. My thought was to fab a straight shaft from the crank flange through the 4th main---eliminating the transmission altogether. There are other ways to engage and disengage the drive if need be.
I was thinking a generator would be nice to power, but our gen tech at work says it wont spin fast enough for long to power it well. And it may not have enough power to keep up once a load is placed on it. We'll see. I also think a water pump would be cool too. We'll see though.
I think something I want to take into consideration is the ability to change pulleys (from flat to V) or a different drive altogether.
Perfect time for a road trip!
You can hit Yellowstone on the way.
There are a number of pulleys collecting dust in my garage attic if you need one, some day I hope to have my old line shaft driven machine tools running off a common shaft rather than independent motors, but that is a long ways away.
Line shafts you say?
Better not have your shirt tail hangin' out!
I may take you up on that offer. But I too am a little ways away from that. I have paid for a mostly complete engine, I just need to pick it up at some point, I wasn't able to fit it with other parts I bought that night.
If I had space, I would most certainly love to have line driven machines. My aunt and uncle owned a cider mill for most of my younger life that was all line driven inside, powered by a water wheel.
Bob, I will take a rain check on that invitation!
So that is what about a 30 hp system?
Managed to get a few more things done yesterday and today. I had an issue with the equalizer bar hitting the plate that supported the front of the Buick transmission. I used my engine crane to remove the "body", and then upon disassembly, it turned into a whole can of works thus essentially making me remount the transmission. I had to fabricate new mounts for it, which if you seen them would make you wonder why it took me all day to build. Sometimes fab work is just slow going.
I also built a brand new exhaust for it. I found a small compact muffler that would fit, and built the rest from scratch. Again, looks simple, but took a bit of time to do.
Fab work is always slow going... it looks good though, the exhaust fits nicely.
I was also thinking about your T power unit. After thinking about it some I have better than a pulley for you -I have a pulley setup for a T. With the kids and everything else I will probably never build a power unit. If you want it, the setup is yours, it's better off being used than collecting dust in the garage.
WOW!!, Zac, I am emailing you off line. Thank You Very Much.
The exhaust fits great. I am not the best welder in the world (although many have told me they wish the could weld like me), and I use flux core a lot, which tends to be messy, but easy to use---case in point, I worked outside in the wind for the past two days. And grinders and flap wheels make my stuff look nicer than it is.
However, the way the exhaust fit was damn near perfect. I used a total of two J-bends of different radiuses, and a Walker 17909 muffler, this all 1 3/4" sizing, a little bigger than a stock T. I had to clearance the pipe around the hogs head though, there pretty much was no way around that short of making some off the wall bends just to clear it. It's not a race car so I wasn't looking for max flow, just to open it up a little bit. When I was done, I sanded off all the aluminized coating so it will rust up quicker.
I actually love building exhaust systems from scratch, making something that was never meant to fit spaces they should be in, but they are just very time consuming to do. A typical muscle car takes me about 15-20 hours to do from scratch. I often only do it because of special applications when no kit is available.
Looking good there, Chad. Happy to see you're having fun with the old girl. Did the block numbers work out for you?
Thanks Tyler. It has come a long ways for sure. Still more pieces in the garage to get on, so it's not done yet. I would like to make it good enough to drive at speed on the road---well, as fast as a TT axle will let me--or I dare haha. I can tell it was definitely originally built with old parts, there is lots of slop in a lot of areas that should be addressed. The steering is much tighter now, the rear axle needs to be another project.
The engine number was yours, so I can't use it. Would like to find a 22 or 23 number to use though.
A couple of more from today. I replace the old cobbled together rear hubs and wheels with something a bit better and more true. As I did on the fronts, I used a modern wheel spacer/adapter and centered it on the hub and pinned it together.
I went with a much wider wheel in the back (16 x 6) from the 16x4 wheels that were on it. I know it isn't period correct, but, it just might be the hot rodder in my that wants the fatter wheel on the rear. Tomorrow I should have the 8-16 implement tires on it finally. I also managed to get the parking brake shoes working, just need to fab some connecting links to the equalizer bar.
I am still waiting to see those Ag tires....
I have slowly been hooking up the engine that I put in the bug in April the manifold had no threads left (no surprise) and the "better" manifold I had with great threads was warped pretty bad, I had it just about in place and snugged up but of course I had to give it one more tap with a wood block and it cracked.
Since the pipe I had was flaired as per originals I made this contraption to keep it in place. it looks a little too shiny, but I suspect it will age pretty fast on the exhaust.
To bad to see that Zac, That is why I just did what the previous owner did and used a clamp to the manifold. A 1 7/8" inside diameter (or 2" outside diameter) fit really good over my manifold.
Saturday I went to the Bernardston Engine and Tractor Show in Bernardston, MA. First time there, big show. I brought the Celtic Rust and it was her debut show. There were 8 other doodlebugs (mostly As and AAs), including another T doodlebug owned by Roger Nice of the Old Colony Model T Club. Never attended another show that had that many doodlebugs.
Sunday and today I pushed on the power unit. Installed the intake/exhaust manifold, Zenith carb, coil box, water pump (because it has the governor integrated in it), wired it :
Have this set of 18" cast aluminum wheels that fit T wood wheel hubs. Good motorcycle tires and paint job. Great for doodlebug, lawn tractor, display cart or hillclimb car. $600
You've been holding out with that cool accessory manifold. Looking good though.
Hopefully tomorrow I will get the AG tires mounted. Today I finally met and spent a couple hours at Zac's house. Great guy with some cool toys and ideas. Another one that likes rusty old metal, and tries to save as much history as possible.
Teaser Alert: AG tires are on and they look awesome. Thank You to Zac for the original idea and to Ron who copied him, and thusly got me hooked on the look. It looks great!!
I also managed to get the left side park brake freed up much better now too. Just need to make links for both sides to go to the equalizer--and get some shoe material and rivets. I also made some mounts for the headlamps being I couldn't find a cheap enough set of fender irons to cut down.
Hopefully pics tomorrow, I ran out of time and daylight today.
Ron, the power unit looks great. I wonder what the front wheel/brake drums would look like with a rubber tire made from an old Sears Alstate tire. It would match your rear tires. Just thinking out loud. It looks good as it is, but you may know how it is when a "little idea" jumps into your head ...
Donnie - funny you should mention that. I was looking at the front wheels when I was installing the coil box and toying with the idea of "capping" them with tread off an old tire. Would have to secure with something flush - like elevator bolts. I may take an old, trashed T brake drum and try it out before I start ventilating the front wheels of the power unit with my drill.
Chad - that accessory manifold and the early Zenith carb were icing on the cake for this find.
This thread is getting long. May be time for Part V.
Time for a new thread - this has gotten too long.
Link to new thread - Part V.