Rebuilding a Tractor and Memories
My son, Andy, and his friends Corey and Nathan recently rebuilt the tractor that had belonged to Corey’s dad. In order to really appreciate this story, you need to know the background. Corey and Nathan are cousins; their fathers were brothers and both died tragically when their sons were young. Corey’s family had a house fire when Corey was 7. Corey’s dad went back inside to get Corey, not realizing that Corey was already outside. He didn’t make it back out of the fire. Nathan was a teen when his dad was killed; a tire he was working on exploded. The cousins live a couple of states apart, but are very close.
Corey hadn’t seen the Allis Chalmers 190 run in 30+ years. Corey brought the tractor to Vermont from Massachusetts and the boys spent a weekend taking it apart in our shop, working 2 very long days. It needed a complete motor job. The crankshaft was sent out for repairs; the boys (I know, they really are men!) did all the rest themselves. Two weekends ago, they spent 2 very long days rebuilding the tractor. In the top row of pictures above, the motor is back together and they are starting to put the tractor back together. The second picture shows the front end on and the motor back in. Notice the seat on the tractor! (Click on the photo to enlarge.)
When they were ready to give it a try, I was called to video the event. On the second crank, she started up. Through the camera lens I could see tears streaming down Corey’s cheeks. I looked over and Nate was in tears as well. For several hours afterwards, the tractor went for many short rides, slight adjustments and test drives. Corey was over-the-moon!
The seat on the tractor wasn’t much more than a frame. We contacted K & M Manufacturing; they had several seat styles available for this tractor. The last picture shows the new seat in place. K & M Manufacturing offers a wide variety of replacement seats and steps for many brands of tractors. Their steps are better than the steps that came with the tractors; great handrails to go with the steps too. Can’t find what you need online? Call their 800-number; the staff is very knowledgeable and probably has a solution. In less than a week the seat arrived and was easily installed before the tractor’s debut.
Last weekend, Corey returned to Vermont with his family. The picture shows Corey, his wife Michelle and their daughter, Lily on the tractor. Safe to have a driver and 2 riders? NO. ROPS (Roll Over Protective Structure) on this tractor? NO. Yes, there is a lot wrong with this picture. I did have a couple of discussions with Corey and family about the safety issues, but they would not be dissuaded from riding together on the tractor.
Vermont has many older model tractors, tractors without roll bars, in use today. We are fortunate to have the Rebates for Roll Bars program. The program offers farmers a rebate of 70% (up to $765.) of the cost for roll bar kits to retrofit tractors without roll bars. The toll-free hotline assists farmers in finding the right roll bar for their tractor. ROPS (a roll bar and a seat belt) are 99% effective in preventing rollover deaths and serious injuries.