My Sky Color

A forty something Dad, Husband, Engineer guy living in Western Oregon. Reflections on all things in life. A few technical things and whatever else comes along.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

To Till the Earth

My Dad picked up a Craftsman rear tine rototiller when he bought a farm in Hermiston, OR in the mid 1990's. Through the years we have used it back and forth for whatever needed tilling. Once in Tualatin I was working in the backyard and hit a big buried rock. The tiller lost that battle. A couple gears lost a tooth in the fight. I dove into fixing it due to the cost of an equivalent replacement machine.

I learned about cost efficient designs. To get at the gears the machine had to be completely torn apart. The frame/gear box were two stamped pieces of 11 gauge. Almost every bolt had to be removed to get at the gears. At that time the parts to fix it were not too much money and it had many good years after the repair. One strange feature was the lubrication of the gear train was like cosmoline, non serviceable.

Recently Dad went to use the tiller and it wouldn't shift gears. He looked up getting parts for it and found out that many of them have been discontinued. He offered the engine to junior for a go-kart. The Mrs., however, had other ideas and wanted me to see if I could fix it. So once again every bolt had to come out.

The failure was due to the lube system. Over time the goo had migrated down in the gear box and condensation had gathered at the top of the box. You guessed it, the shifting mechanism shaft is at the top. The sliding mechanism seized on the shaft and the shaft is all cancerous with rust. Of course these parts are on the discontinued list.

The boss has had some veggie gardens and wants to expand the square footage this year. Recently I had spotted a real rototiller sitting in a field near our house. I thought, "what the heck I'll see if he wants to sell." The owner had been given two of them and put it there as a yard ornament.

Now I am the proud owner of a late 1940's Graham-Paige B1-6 rototiller. This is a real rototiller. This company actually trademarked the name, Rototiller. This machine was built like a real machine. All gears, cast iron housings, levers for all functions, a magneto and a two-stroke engine. Yup that is right a two stroke engine. If you are interested here are a couple links to sites that have info about this machine.

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At 3:02 PM, Anonymous mom/Sheryl said...

I had a feeling that the rototiller from Hermiston was dust. I really wish we had it still and it worked as the garden is waiting to be worked up. Here it is May 3 and wet, wet, wet. I enjoy your blogs but don't always had a comment.

At 9:10 PM, Blogger Carly said...

That is really cool. Looks kind of like a Gravely.


At 9:15 AM, Anonymous Julie said...

Looks awesome. Eric tilled our garden with the coughing, backfiring garden tractor again. He has had a replacement engine for it for about 3 years, but you know how that goes!


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