There’s been some good restoration project posts lately, so I thought I would add one for my 70 as well. Probably like the projects of many others out there, this one started as just wanting to fix something small, and snowballed from there. I’m posting this as I am almost done, but since I have gotten a lot of enjoyment, and some good tips from the other projects on here, I thought I would share mine.
Despite discouragement from my wife, I just couldn’t resist when a 70 came up for sale locally last Fall for cheap. After all, it was Joe Loch’s 70 that first caught my eye and got me into this mess, I mean hobby. Initially the plan was to either A. fix a few things and flip it, or B. turn it into tractor show ride-around / tribute to my grandpa’s 4010 puller. As you will see, plan B is obviously the one that won out. Although my efforts did go way beyond my original plans, I intentionally stopped short of a full-blown nut and bolt restoration. The tractor ran pretty well as it was, and I just wanted to make it look a little nicer.
I got it home and found it ran and mowed reasonably well. The most pressing issue was a front tire that would leak down to flat after a few days. So, first order of business was getting some new front tires. Following the lead of others on there, I went with some 3.50-6 Deestone tri-ribs. Since I bought the tires online, the local tire shop understandably wanted to charge for the dismounting/mounting of the tires. For just a little more than what they wanted, I was able to get a small tire mounting tool from Harbor Freight. My first attempt at dismounting the tires did not go well. Having done a few since, I now know that was the fault of the tires and not the tool. The one original front tire was especially stubborn in getting the bead to break free, and eventually required some persuasion from a sawzall. Once those were off, mounting the new tires and tubes was a piece of cake.
The next order of business was fixing the hood. In addition to the typical cracks in the corners, this one had apparently crashed into something, cracking the hood in the middle and leaving a small dent in the grill. I did the fiberglass repair and filled in the cracks with some body filler. My 5 year old saw me mixing up a batch of body filler, and was curious what I was up to. I told him it was like playdough for daddies. He thought that was cool, and helped me fill in the last few little pinholes. Through a stroke of luck, I got some perfect weather conditions for painting outside and painted the hood and grill with some John Deere spray paint. The only problem was it looked too good, and made the rest of the tractor look worse in comparison.
The 70 project sat dormant for most of the winter as I was busy with the holidays and deliberating on what my next steps would be. I could put it all back together and revert to my original “plan A”, or go ahead and repaint the rest. If I put that much work into it though, I had no intentions of selling it right away. As winter started waning, I ultimately decided to pull the trigger on further disassembly and repainting.
I’ll skip the details on disassembly as there is little unique to share about that part of the process. I went down to the frame, but stopped short of removing the rear transaxle and drive pulleys. These parts had quite a bit of their original paint on them, and since they aren’t easily visible, I did not see any reason to go that far.
I cleaned all the parts with degreaser and a pressure washer, and then prepped them for paint. On parts that were still in pretty good condition, I just cleaned them and roughed up the paint a little. On areas that needed a little more TLC, I went down to bare metal with a wire wheel and/or sanding. Another shortcut I allowed myself was that for the decals that were in good shape, like around the shift lever, I prepped around them and then masked them for painting. Sure, it takes away from the quality of the restoration, but it satisfied my intentions, and saved me quite a bit of money on replacing decals that were in pretty good condition to begin with.
Probably my biggest success in this project was the painting. How well it holds up remains to be seen, but as far as initial results go, I am very pleased. I do not have a “real” paint system, and have always managed to get by with just using rattle cans. After making a mess of my garage on a painting project a few years ago, I had resigned myself to painting outside. Of course this requires wind, weather, and bugs to all cooperate to get suitable conditions for painting. I got lucky on the hood and grill for those conditions to align, but didn’t want to wait for lightning to strike twice to do the rest of the tractor. After a little research into the subject, I decided to build a temporary paint booth in my garage. I could go into more detail on how I did it, but to say the least, I was very happy with the results. It does take a little time to get it set up and torn down, but it is worth it.
That's enough for now. I’ll post more updates as I get them written and photos uploaded.