Saturday, July 24, 2010

Lysander Rides Again

Lysander, my 1947 International Farmall H, had not started since about this time last year. Part of the problem is that he is a 6V tractor, and you can't buy his batteries at NAPA auto parts, at least not in Big Lake or Wasilla. On my last trip into Anchorage, I visited Alaska Battery and they found me one. So I charged it, and we had a couple of days where the sun was shining. Time to give the old hero a go.

Let's see -- install the battery, remembering that he is positive ground. Clean out the sediment bowl on the fuel line. Put in fuel, and turn it on. Observe, the bowl fills up. Check the oil. Swing up into the seat. Check neutral. Push in clutch. Switch on. Pull out choke. Pray. Hit the starter button. Lysander coughed. Push in choke halfway. Another hit on the starter button, and off he went! Wonderful rumbly sound. Not only that, but the ammeter registered a charge! I had spent some time last fall tracing out all the wiring, tightening connections, cleaning the commutator on the generator, and tightening the generator belt. It paid off. I still think there is a loose wire or fifteen in there, or possibly a partially broken one. But right now it's time for a workout. Drive up to the power line right-of-way, hitch a rope to one of the logs lying there.
There is Lysander pulling a log, off to the right (long rope, easier than driving Lysander down the right-of way). Notice the elegant paint job, mostly finished. I will order a decal kit and a new muffler any day now. Lysander was ready for more, but I was absolutely exhausted. Pulling logs is hard on the operator -- you have to lift the log so's you can get a rope or chain on it. So we drove Lysander to his summer dacha, and tucked him in.
I can't believe how reliable that tractor is. Modern cars work OK when brand new. When they get old, their computerized circuits fail, the safety features hamper starting, and a thousand ills beset them. Lysander is over 60 years old. Look at him go!

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