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LAGC Lawn and Garden Collector Magazine Volume 2 Issue 3

May/June 2008

IN THIS ISSue: The “500” Special, A Miniature John Deere 4020, Mowett Mustang Part 2, Massey 7 Part 2, SHOWCASING: Modified Tractors

LAWN AND GARDEN

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LAGC May/June 2008


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BuD By Merle C. McCormick Marietta, Illinois

About thirty years ago, one of our implement dealers began selling small, imported, articulating garden tractors. These machines ranged from 18- to 30-horsepower and looked like miniature four-wheel drive tractors. At that time, I really did not have a need or the financial resources to purchase one; however, the memory of those tractors remained vivid in my mind. Vol. 2 Issue 3 LAGC

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I began to think seriously about the possibility of building an articulating tractor, similar to the ones sold by the dealership. In 2004 these dreams bloomed into action when friends came to visit us for a couple weeks. For entertainment, we took a drive through the countryside. While sightseeing, I stumbled across two Case hi-wheel garden tractors that were for sale. These machines were important components needed for my new project, so I purchased both of them. After making this purchase, my mind raced into action and I was raring to build that articulating tractor.

is not easy to explain how it worked, the mechanism enabled the tractor to rotate even on rough terrain.

The first step in this new endeavor was to design a connecting link that would allow the front and the rear of the tractor to articulate. My design for accomplishing this task consisted of pillow blocks and a 3-inch tube. Although it

I chose a power steering unit from a White combine and added one hydraulic cylinder to handle the steering. However, I ran into one major problem. The way that I had hooked up the hydraulics, I could only steer when the tractor was

LAGC May/June 2008

After the articulation portion of the tractor was completed, I then had to decide where to place the front axle. I went to a local welding shop. They helped me align the axle and reinforce the front of the tractor so that it could handle a larger motor than what it was originally designed for. The motor I chose was a 25-horsepower, twin-cylinder Kohler engine. Installing the engine also required me to connect it to the Case hydraulic pump.

in motion. It did not take me long to notice that when the tractor was in neutral, the hydraulic fluid re-circulated to keep the system cooled. Since there was no hydraulic pressure during the re-circulating process, the steering assembly would not work. I solved the steering dilemma by adding a valve that diverted two gallons of hydraulic fluid to the steering assembly. This left me with a new concern: now I was losing hydraulic pressure to the drive train. The results of reduced hydraulic pressure would reduce my ground speed. To counteract this problem, I added a Chevy S-10 power steering pump and built a hydraulic fluid reserve tank in the frame of the tractor. This design worked perfectly with smooth steering and excellent ground speed. Originally, I had planned to install hy-


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A few local farmers stopped by to monitor the progress on my tractor. Naturally, every one of them recommended that I put duals on it so that it would look like a real farm tractor. I had to agree with them, the duals would certainly be fitting on this machine. Unfortunately, finding four extra wheels of this size turned out to be a bit of a chore. After some serious searching, I found what I needed in the great state of Iowa. All that was required for me to do was make four spacers for each set of duals. My son Roger helped me with the project by installing a Bolens dash and taillight. He then professionally painted the tractor with Bolens beige and green paint. After Roger painted the tractor, it looked completely factory built. During the restoration of this tractor, I named it the “Laurel and Hardy Special” because I had made so many mistakes during the building process. I even made arrangements to have decals made

Looking back, if I could do it over, I think I would have made several design changes. First, I would have installed an adjustable seat. Second, I would have added dual chrome exhaust pipes.

Third, I would have shortened the frame from 100 inches to 96 inches. Why the shorter frame? To my disappointment, the Illinois State Police will not permit me to haul the tractor crossways on my trailer while traveling on secondary roads. This becomes a bit of a problem since I live on

When I run the engine at full-throttle, the tractor is a little hard to handle. Since the Case design allowed the operator to go from forwards to neutral to reverse in one motion, controlling this tractor at 12 to 14 mph can be a little scary. Consequently, I do most of the driving with the throttle and leave the shift-lever in forward position. This tractor has been a real show pleaser. Often times, people ask me, “How long did it take to build Little Bud?” I jokingly tell them that I thought about the design for two weeks and then built it the next week. Editor’s Note: Merle McCormick mailed us photos of Little Bud last spring. Because of its uniqueness, I decided to take those photos to a couple of tractor shows, just to see what kind of reaction other collec-

tors would have. To my surprise, I overheard several old timers argue over the originality of that tractor… most were convinced that is was, indeed, straight from the factory! - LAGC

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My original plan was to use the Case hood on this tractor, but I decided against using it since it was not large enough to encase the engine. I am a serious Bolens collector and I had an extra Bolens hood. Consequently, I decided to use it. The fit was so good that I didn’t have to modify the hood one bit.

a secondary road.

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One thing that I noticed was my limitation on lighting. All I had were two front headlights. To make the tractor look uniform while adding more lights, I installed fenders with individual lights.

for the tractor with this entertaining nickname. I started to think, however, that the younger generation isn’t familiar with this comedy act from the 1920’s. Although I had already named the tractor, my good friend Jim kept referring to the tractor as “Little Bud.” I decided that since the tractor looked a little like a miniature size Big Bud, that the name Little Bud was far better suited for this one-of-a-kind machine. The decal shop copied the letter style of a Big Bud when they made the Little Bud decals for me. Once “Little Bud” was completed, I displayed it at several tractor shows. I’ve had several lucrative offers to take Little Bud off my hands, but my son Roger and I decided it would be best to hold on to it.

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draulic brakes; however, with all of the hydraulic requirements, I decided to design mechanical brakes. The tractor uses one foot-pedal for braking. The parking brake lever is just behind the operator’s seat, within easy reach.

Good Times, Great Oldies, May 2011  

Big Bud from Sold Out 2008 issues

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