23 May 2016

Tractor Time - Sears GT16

I shoulda wrote this when it was fresh,
now it's become an epic...
Macey James Perich with her Sears GT16 tractor
It all started after the big 3 swap meet.
We had offed a 4-banger engine,
and instead of a quick pick up,
had to drag it back to the shop.
big 3 swap meet 2016
It lingered through many past posts,
sitting in the dirt while we bricked around it,
built the boat windshield...
The long overdue pick up was a month+ later.
The new owner Ed was a diehard Model A fanatic.
He and his wife drove all the way from Pleasanton,
pulling a heavy duty trailer with this giant RV.
No way was this rig gonna back into the shop yard.
We ended up dropping the engine in the van,
then taking it to his RV parked outside.
The kicker was dragging the cherry picker,
two blocks away on soft asphalt on a scorcher day.
Holey Chit...
The steel wheels actualy left a trail!
Fortunately Ed and his wife were nice enough
to make the over work enjoyable.

After that a new obsession emerged.
I hunted craigslist for tractors and forklifts
missing out on a few cheap unrealistically large projects,
anything useable was a bit pricey,
until this one popped up.
1978 sears gt16 garden tractor
A couple hundred for a runner,
and it could fit inside the van!
We buzzed it around the yard a few laps,
and stripped it down.
Jakob Perich and the stripped sears gt16 tractor
These old Sears/Murray/Roper garden tractors
have a cult following.
Some guys restore them,
and other guys build race-karts,
using the original hood/grille to mower them out.
Easy way for us to get an almost free tractor!
Like another project was needed!
Well... no time to waste!
By the end of the day,
we had a general idea.
Unbeknownst that it'd take possession
of what would become the after 530 slot.
That selfish bit of time after responsibilities,
and before rushing home for family dinner .
I'd have to call this scrap engineering,
using anything lying around the house or shop yard.
Every evening any progression resulted in
another reason to bust butt the next night.
Funny how previous projects that took forever
gave the experience to do this quickly.
With the tractor re-skinned,
it was time to give it a purpose.
A beater cherry picker was dug out of the yard debris...
Thanks Jason!
A bolt-on mount torched and welded,
so it'll go back in the van...
...and the crane whittled down to fit.
customized sears gt16 mower
This part shoulda been easy...
Instead this picker was the reject non-folding design.
The lever arm wouldn't lower down tight.
The pivot part was all tweaked out,
the jack points were totally wrong,
and it was over a foot too long.
Thanks Jason!
How many thousands of these
were returned back to China as scrap!
No problem,
I know a welder...
sears gt16 garden tractor
A little rattlecan magic
helped it resemble a goldfish.
pumpkin patina
The patina was practice for a concurrent project.
Everyone questions the paint application,
the unsanded paint looks funky.
It's all about the strategic sanding.
customized sears gt16 garden tractor
The little picker had no problem
moving light stuff that was easy enough to carry.
modded sears gt16 garden tractor
There was an obvious limit with a heavy load!
Wheelie machine...
The common tractor fix is wheel weights,
cast iron or concrete plugs bolted in the rim.
We needed some serious heft not 40 lbs...
The battery was relocated to it's original position,
and a basket whipped up from more scrap.
The perfect spot to stash wasted anchor chain.
This was at least 150+ lbs of leverage.
Now here's a picker!
Finally we had a useable machine.
It was time to hot rod it out.
The next mod was only partially for performance.
The old hood had a cut-out for the exhaust,
It blew out the side.
The new hood forced the burnt gases
into the drivers lap.
Straight pipes were too loud.
No need for another tinnitis special.
I kept adding tubes til the tone was bearable.
This downpipe was like a dirt fountain!
I added a 2nd 90 degree bend quickly...
briggs & stratton 16hp exhaust
The new exhaust woke up the 16hp Briggs & Stratton.
The low gearing kept it tame,
but it could buck ya around!
jakob perich hauling junk
Jake tested it out moving junk around.
A natural!
perich brother and sister
Even Macey couldn't resist.
Probably a good idea to fix the brakes next time.
She was hesitant at first,
now she asks to go to the shop!
One more tool for the quiver...

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