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Slightly larger than a garden tractor . . .


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Found this back in 1995, hadn't run for 20+ years. 1928 Caterpillar Twenty, 4 cylinder gas engine, 4 tons. The engine was out of a road grader, that is why the radiator sides do not have the "TWENTY" on them.
Worked on the mag (filed & adjusted the points) and cleaned the carb (put it back together with homemade gaskets). Cranked for 2 hours (literally: Hand crank). Wife stuck by in the garage for that time, then decided it wasn't worth it. About then the (tiny) wisp of smoke that had been coming out straight came out as a curly-cue. Something happening? She stuck around. Then it popped once. Then it started, ran, died. Fiddled with the carb, then it started and kept running!
Any time after that, a cold start required four compressions. A hot start? One, EVERY time! (This is a cold start! ;) )
We moved to another place, and there was a lean-to on that garage so the Cat was sort of protected. When I tore down the old garage and put up my 42 x 48 machine shed, I used it to move a 10x20 shed. It sounds like it's working hard, but it is actually idled down.
Once I got the new machine shed done, I looked at the new concrete, then the grousers, and decided I'd had it long enough. Sold it (for a profit!) to a feller down in Kansas. Funny thing, I owned the tractor for about ten years, and could never find the serial number. After I had it advertised, I found it; stamped RIGHT where all my information had said it would be. No grease hiding it. Cannot figure out HOW I had missed it all those years!!!
Loading it is another story: This was the FIRST tractor he was carrying on his new slope-tailed semi-trailer. The slope was smooth. He had me drive it up onto the trailer. The ramps were set as narrow as they could so the inside of the ramps were centered on the track (the tractor is 42" center on the tracks). So half of each track was inside the ramps. For an idea of what this means, the grousers were 9" wide, so 4 1/2 " of grouser on each ramp. Just as it was rocking over from the ramps to the sloped (smooth, remember?) tail, one track spun out and the tractor was sitting at an angle! I surprised myself that I got it stopped before it fell off! DILEMMA: Do I brake the uphill track and try to make the downhill track grab the sloped tail? (Bad idea, since that was the track that lost traction!)
Or brake the downhill track and back down onto the ramp, HOPING to get it centered again? (only choice, really)
And either way, be prepared to launch OFF the tractor in case it decided to go tracks-up! With Shari guiding me, I carefully backed it down to the ramps, she signaled I was centered (TRUST is strong in our marriage!), and I backed down onto the road. Then cleaned out my shorts! (not really, but the adrenaline was running a bit high!) Looking at the picture, the trailer isn't all that tall. But sitting on the tailend with the Cat catty-whompus, is seemed like I was 8' off the ground!!
We put 2x8s on the ramps and over the smooth tail, and she walked right up onto the trailer then.
Edited by Hick
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I just as given back my grandfather’s favorite tractor, that we gave to a family friend who did a small restoration on it. It was running 5 years go, now my father wants me to get her running again. There’s not too many Minneapolis Molines in this part of the country. Hopefully, like you it’s just a carb and points cleaning. We will see.


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