Where to start!

Mon May 13, 2013 2:13 pm

Hi all...

It's been a while since I have been "active" on the forum. Since the move to western PA, I have been pummeled with work and family, etc. In fact, I had pulled Lewis (my 1955 Cub) in the garage and just kind of forgot about him. Thought about selling him, even placed some ads, but never went through with it. Now with the weather turning nice and family stuff in good shape, I have decided that I really DO want to have a nice 1955 Cub to ad to the stable... SO... it is time to get started.

The problem is this... WHERE TO START. Pretty much EVERYTHING needs to be done to the tractor. Engine overhaul, new wiring, steering rebuild, tranny rebuild, final drive swap, PTO rebuild, new seals all around (front and rear engine, tranny, final drive, PTO), needs PTO rebuild...

So... where would you start? Would you start at the rear and work your way forward or start at the front and work your way rear? I've been tempted to just tear it apart completely down to bare components and work my way through it that way... maybe that is the best way.

So... what are your opinions...front to back or back to front?

Just a fun post for a Monday!

Re: Where to start!

Mon May 13, 2013 2:36 pm

I kind of take a different approach. I typically will get the engine in tip-top shape (as good as I can), and have a nice running tractor, before I consider doing anything else. Then I look at the other major components. If a transmission seal is leaking or gaskets need to be replaced in the final drives, I do those next. Generally cleaning things up and fixing little problems from the previous owner as I go along. So, I will get the tractor in good mechanical shape then decide if I'm going to re-paint or not.

The exception to this is if I have to take something apart to fix it along the way. For instance, on my 51, I had to drop the front axle to fix a worn bushing. While I had the front axle apart, I cleaned, repaired, and re-painted the whole assembly before putting it back on the tractor. Same thing with the oil pan, transmission cover, diff cover, and final drive pans. They were all leaking, so I had all of them off over the winter the first year I had the tractor. So, while they were off, they all got cleaned, primed and painted. Yes, I ended up painting over them again during the final painting, but if something's off being fixed, that's the time to clean an re-paint (in my book anyway).

Just my thoughts. Not sure if they're right or wrong, but I've gotten through about 6 Cubs this way and have never been dissappointed.

Re: Where to start!

Mon May 13, 2013 2:55 pm

Glad to see you back Mike. I've always wanted to take one down completely and start from scratch, as long as I has a running Cub to use while I was restoring one. I did that with my 154 and it turned out real nice, then I traded it for a F Cub. Time is not an issue with me, but money is. A little at a time is ok because there is always parts to clean, my least favorite part. Assembling rebuilt, freshly painted parts is the real reward for me. That is my next future project.

Re: Where to start!

Mon May 13, 2013 2:57 pm

My thought. Complete one item or unit at a time rather than disassebling the entire tractor. Then move on to next unit. My approach is similiar to Bills, engine first.

Re: Where to start!

Mon May 13, 2013 3:46 pm

I agree with Bill & Eugene. Investigate the condition and cost to rebuild the engine first. If that is cost prohibitive or you find surprises, you may want to move on to a different tractor.

Re: Where to start!

Mon May 13, 2013 5:04 pm

Hey Mike,
Good to see you back on again. I would have to agree with the previous posts. I look at it like eating an elephant, you do it one bite at a time. I went towards mine with the "three major component" mindset. I pulled the front off, got it squared away and replaced the front seal on the crank while accessible. It was leaking like a seive. After that (this winter) I replaced the final castings and trans housing along with the rear rims. Next winter (while I dont need her) I plan to go through the engine to freshen her up and then she should outlast me if maintained.

Re: Where to start!

Mon May 13, 2013 5:27 pm

Welcome back, Mike!

I agree with the others about doing one component at a time, but in my case it's because I'm afraid I'd either lose parts or forget what a part was.

As for where to start, I would prefer to start with the engine, but that's just me, probably because that's the component with which I am most familiar (several engine rebuilds in my past, but never dived into a tranny or steering box).

Thinking about it from a reassembly standpoint, though, I think starting at the back might be a better option. Go through the rear end and finals, then do the torque tube, move on to the engine, etc. In picturing the reassembly sequence, the growing structure seems to me to be more stable if you add finished components going forward. Plus, if this is likely to take more than a couple months (I know it would take me longer than that), it seems that the components in the rear are less likely to suffer from disuse. I'd hate to think of a rebuilt engine just sitting on a bench for six months or longer.

Re: Where to start!

Mon May 13, 2013 9:25 pm

Start by taking the hood off.

That will pretty much ensure that you have to fix all that is wrong with it...

Of course my first two cubs were square nose, and I find removing round-nosed hoods much easier.

Re: Where to start!

Mon May 13, 2013 10:07 pm

I'm sort of in the same boat with my 48. My cub was running good when I parked it, but I let it sit for way too long (over a year, I believe). I had a shop built a month or so ago, so I am finally able to get the cub inside. Of course, it wouldn't start. My goal is to get this tractor looking and running good by the end of summer, so I just bit the bullet and pulled the hood.

I've been away longer than Mike. I have done a good bit of reading lately, but this is my first post in forever. Some of the old faces seem to be missing, and there are plenty of names I don't recognize. I look forward to getting acquainted as I go through my project. This place is still, by far, the best place to go with cub questions.


Re: Where to start!

Mon May 13, 2013 10:20 pm

Step One: Get your fingers off the keyboard and onto the Cub! You could of had the grille off by now!

Step Two: Start with whatever is closest to you when you approach the Cub. If you're truly going through it, it doesn't matter whether it's front to back, left to right, or gas cap to tires, it's all gonna get touched. You could of had the dogleg screws out by now!

Step Three: Work on what needs it and you feel like doing. It's more fun to work on/fix something you want to instead of have to. So if you don't feel like fussing with the clutch today work on the steering. You could of had the gas line disconnected and be draining the tank by now!

Step Four: We are here for support but not for procrastination! Review Step One! You could of had the front radiator bolts out of the hood brackets by now.

Step Five: You don't need a step five, you shouldn't even be reading this! You need to be working on your Cub! You could of had the four truss head screws out by now and be taking the hood off? :D :||):

Re: Where to start!

Mon May 13, 2013 10:23 pm

:bellylaugh: This was one of the BEST replies I have read yet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Re: Where to start!

Tue May 14, 2013 7:41 am

What Dale said!!

Re: Where to start!

Wed May 15, 2013 9:10 am

Thank you, all, for your input. I agree that getting the engine tip-top is key to getting the tractor tip-top. Looks like it is time for a tear-down of the engine and finding a machine shop!

Thanks all... I'll post pics as I go!


Re: Where to start!

Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:57 am

Well.... Bringing this post back up. I have been giving Lewis a good workout, and I have to say... the tractor runs really well. Took compression readings and am getting 105 - 115 on all four cylinders. The smoke seems to be clearing up, so I think that I am going to leave the engine as it is for now. It just runs like a Swiss watch! Other than a leaky front main seal that drops oil all over the yard, I am going to let it alone.

The transmission however is REALLY bad. First, reverse and third are like metal grinding on metal. 2nd is actually quiet which has me flummoxed. With a move back up to Hengelsberg Hill coming up, I will wait until I move, but a complete teardown of the tranny is in order! At this point, would I be better off finding a new transmission to stuff in there, or would it be better to find a Cadet tranny and swap out the gears and bearings?

Re: Where to start!

Mon Jun 24, 2013 11:35 am

You are killing me Mike. There were two cadet original rolling chassis’s for sale near you on craigslist for over a month earlier this year. As I recall they wanted $100 for both. You might try Patton Acres in Edinburg. I would open up the top and see how much rust you have before investing in another transmission, however. You might just need input and counter shaft bearings. --Lee