Starting the WD45

Fri Jul 30, 2004 12:09 pm

Shane, a young man who used to live across the creek from me and mowed my yard when I wasn't able, came by a few days ago and wanted to know if I'd help him get an old Allis Chalmers WD45 running. He is presently living and working on a large farm about 30 mile south of here, and the owner was letting him put up hay on a share basis. Shane didn't have a tractor of his own and the owner was charging him rent on one, which Shane wanted to avoid. He said the WD45 had been setting outside unused for 10 plus years, but the exhaust had been covered and the engine was free. Shane said he could do the mechanical work but the wiring was totally destroyed and he didn't know anything about the electrical part, but if I'd tell him what was needed he could do it. He had already changed the oil to check for water and made sure the radiator had antifreeze. Well that sounded like something I could handle, so I told him I'd meet him the following Monday.

I went to the YTMAG site and found a link to WD45 wiring diagrams including 12 volt conversions. When I got to Shane's I found a very rusty tractor, with a 12 volt battery, 6 volt coil and dropping resister. The wiring was pretty bad. It had a key type ignition switch with the key broken off in it and a wire twisted around all the terminals to power everything. I removed the distributor cap and point cover to find the points badly corroded. I grabbed my Gerber multiplier and used the file to clean the points. We connected the battery, and I used a test light to check the wiring to the distributor. The dropping resister was open. I bypassed the resister and used a screwdriver to open and close the points, which resulted in a good spark from the coil. One worry relieved.

Shane poured some gas in and hit the starter. Nothing. A couple checks with the test light while he held the starter rod showed one of the battery terminals wouldn't carry enough current to turn the starter. After a brief delay while Shane went to get another terminal we tried again. Second time over she roared to life. Inside a metal shed, no muffler or exhaust pipe it scared both of us. We neither one actually expected it to start that easily, but Shane had a grin on his face a foot wide. The old Allis looks as if she will live a while longer. We let it run long enough to build up oil pressure, then shut it off. I didn't want to burn up the 6 volt coil on 12 volts, plus the fan wasn't turning. More inspection showed the generator bearings to be rusted to the point it wouldn't turn. Since it also had a cutout on top rather than having a regulator I suspected it was a 6 volt generator any way. I explained the wiring diagrams to Shane and left them with him along with instructions on how to install an alternator on it. When I left he was a very happy young man.

Fri Jul 30, 2004 12:17 pm

There are a couple of great things about this story. First of all, another classic piece of agricultural history is returning to life.
The other, even more important part is the sharing of knowledge from one generation to another.

Well done John. I know you have to feel good about this one!

Fri Jul 30, 2004 8:55 pm

John:

Ditto on what BD said. Well Done :!: :D

Sun Aug 01, 2004 10:37 pm

Bigdog wrote:There are a couple of great things about this story. First of all, another classic piece of agricultural history is returning to life.
The other, even more important part is the sharing of knowledge from one generation to another.

Well done John. I know you have to feel good about this one!



Well said BD, and beyond that, another example of the "good neighbor principal"! :wink: