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Branch 158 Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association

 

Branch 158 is a member of the Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Assn., Inc.

Individual dues for principal members are $25.00 per year. Dues for auxiliary members are $17.00 each per year. Spouses and dependent children from 12 to 18 years old of principal members are considered auxiliary members. New members joining during each membership period will be considered members through the end of that period. Those with membership in a different EDGE & TA branch, may join Branch 158 with full membership privileges for $17.00 per year along with proof of membership (i.e., photocopy of card) in the other branch. Dues become due and payable on January 1st and are delinquent if not paid by April 15th.

Dues may be paid by mailing a check payable to EDGE&TA, Branch 158 along with a stamped, self-addressed envelope to Secretary-Treasurer Sue Esdaile, 310 Cross St., Woodland, CA 95695.

The Baling Wire is the official newsletter of Branch 158. It provides members with reports of past events, calendar of coming events, letters, ads, club information, and tips for the restoration and preservation of vintage farm, mining, construction, and related machinery. There is no charge for ads in the Baling Wire. All ads must be related to antique engines/tractors. For sale ads will be accepted from anyone, regardless of EDGE & TA membership. Wanted ads will be accepted only from EDGE & TA members. Your input for the Baling Wire is most welcome. Send to John Boehm, Editor, 14151 County Road 98A, Woodland, CA 95695-9134; e-mail: rustyacres@yahoo.com.

 

Important Dues Information

A reminder that your dues are now due and payable. This will cover your membership for the period from April 1, 2021 to April 1, 2021.

Our board of directors met by Email and decided that our members did not benefit much from the dues paid for 2020. We decided that EDGE&TA Branch 158 members that paid dues for 2020 do not have to pay 2021 dues. We will pay the national dues for them out of the club funds. Any new members or members from other branches that join Branch 158 this year will pay the normal amount.

2020 Members who will not have to pay 2021 Dues

Brian Barnett
Ed Beoshanz
Warren R. Berg
John Boehm
 Kathy  Boehm
Don Boulet
Lowell Coppin
Scott Coppin
Pat Garrison
Jenming Gee
Gerald Gustafson
Lee Hardesty
Mike Hilton
David Honer
Gerald Minatre
Ed Morris
Dudley Newton
Frank Nichols
 Marian  Nichols
Wilbur Reil
 Janice Reil
Frank Sauers
Mel Savery
Jeff Wallom
 Diane Wallom
Sue Westwood
Fred Ziegler


2021 BRANCH 158 DIRECTORS
AND CLUB OFFICERS

President
Wilbur Reil 530-756-1018 wilburreil@att.net

Vice President
Kathy Boehm 530-383-7305 quiltnurs@yahoo.com

Secretary-Treasurer
Sue Westwood 530-304-4735 swestwood@carbahalcpa.com

Editor
John Boehm 530-867-5886 rustyacres@yahoo.com

Safety Director
Dave Honer 530-681-2694 honer1946@hotmail.com

Directors

Pat Garrison 530-867-4210 pmgarrison1@pacbell.net
Ed Morris 530-662-7648 emorris_23@sbcglobal.net


 


Branch 158 Coming Events

Coming Events

Open Shop and Potluck

This year's Branch 158 fun day/open shop will be at the home of Brian Barnett. Brian has an eclectic collection of old working tractors, also trucks and other miscellaneous machinery (or “junk”). This is planned to be a morning of fun and learning, followed by a pot-luck barbecue for lunch. The date is set for September 11, 2021 at 38928 Aspen St. in Woodland just north of the West St./Kentucky St. intersection. We will start at 9 am and the barbecue will be about noon. Hamburgers, condiments, and bottled water will be supplied. Please bring a side dish to share and any other liquid refreshment. It will be for EDGETA members only. For more information, please call Brian Barnett at 530-908-4242 or bwbarnett@ucdavis.edu

Plainfield-Winters Tractor Ride

The Sixteenth Annual Yolo Tractor Ride will occur on Saturday October 16, 2021. The starting and ending location this year will be at Wilbur and Janice Reil’s ranch a few miles west of Davis. We will ride from there around Lake Solano to Winters and back. We will stop for lunch at the Winters Park, where you can either enjoy your picnic lunch or have lunch at one of the many nearby restaurants. Tractors should have a minimum speed of nine miles per hour. Come enjoy a pleasant drive through beautiful farming countryside.
Meet at 8:00 a.m. at the Reil’s, the address is 25246 Co. Rd. 95, Davis 95616. We will leave at 8:30 a.m. The return route will be different from the morning route. For more information, contact Dave Honer at 530-681-2694 or honer1946@hotmail.com.

President's Message

We completed the very successful Yolo-Capay tractor drive. We had 11 tractors that drove about 40 miles through the farmland and rolling hills of northern Yolo County. Lunch in Capay was very delicious. What a wonderful day to be enjoying the great outdoors with fellow tractor enthusiasts.

The calendar has been updated to include the two Branch 158 events still scheduled for 2021 as well as some other nearby ones. Mark the dates of the events that you are comfortable in attending. As more people get vaccinated it should help reduce the cases of Covid 19 that occur. Practicing required and recommended safety guidelines will keep us safe and let us return to a normal lifestyle.

I hope to see everyone at some of the shows. Keep safe. Get those tractors and engines running. Let’s be safe and get this pandemic behind us so we can enjoy our hobby

Wilbur Reil
President Yolo Antique Power

Show Report

Yolo-Capay Tractor Ride, by Wilbur Reil

We had a very successful Tractor drive May 1 with 11 tractors participating. We left John and Kathy Boehm’s place at 8:30 and had a scenic drive toward Zamora. The tomato fields were starting to bloom. Almond trees were loaded. At Zamora we turned west through grazing land, vineyards and olive orchards. Hungry Hollow was pretty as we drove to the Road Trip Café in Capay. After a delicious lunch out in their patio area we returned by a southern route through rolling hills and farm land.
John Boehm drove a 1956 John Deere 420. He also loaned Dave Honer an Oliver 60 to drive. Ed Morris drove his John Deere40U which he also uses on the family farm in Lake Co. Jeff and Diane Wallom brought a McCormick Deering 1946 model O-6 which Jeff drove and a John Deere 60 for Diane to drive. Both tractors were beautifully restored. Sue Westwood drove her restored 1953 Farmall Super A. Steve Dabrowski drove his nicely restored 1948 Ford 8N. Greg Pyman brought an 1954 Oliver Super 55. Dudley Newman drove his 1951 Ford 8N. Richard Garrison drove a Farmall Super C owned by Janice Reil. Wilbur Reil drove a rustic McCormick Deering OS 4.
The weather was perfect. Everyone seemed to enjoy the day.

In Memoriam
Stan Gladney

Stan Gladney passed away on February 24, 2021 after several days in the hospital fighting a stubborn MRSA infection. Stan was 90 years old. Though not so active in the past few years, he was member of both Branch 158 and Branch 13 of EDGE&TA and was actively involved in their shows as well as the antique machinery displays at the California State Fair. He collected and restored hit and miss engines and was the go to man for figuring out timing and magneto problems. He is survived by his wife, Nancy, his daughter, and several grandchildren and great grandchildren. Stan grew up on the family farm near Guinda in the Capay Valley, served in the US Army during the Korean War, and worked at Crystal Creamery during his working years. He was a good friend who will be missed by all of us.

Tractor Drives
By Wilbur Reil

Tractor drives of antique tractors continue to bring enjoyment to collectors and riders in the Sacramento Valley. Many of the tractors now being driven on these rides were made in the 1940’s to 1970’s era. That makes the older tractors approaching the average life expectancy of the driver on them. Seventy or 8o years and they still continue to run. I have had my McCormick Deering OS 4 on most of the tractor drives we have had. On all the drives it has travelled more than 2000 miles or the same distance if it was driven from Sacramento, CA to St. Louis, MO.

We are blessed with many rural roads in Northern California. On the west side of the Sacramento Valley we have Hwy I-5 a freeway that replaced the old 99W. 99W remained as a frontage road and runs in most places along I-5 from Woodland to Red Bluff. With all the rural roads with very little traffic it is an ideal place for slow moving tractors on public roads. Other drivers are used to slow moving vehicles.

The initial Yolo to Red Bluff Endurance Run was the brainchild of Floyd Percival in 2005. He wanted to drive the distance in the spring to go to a Gas up in Red Bluff, a distance of 120 miles. The drive proved successful but the down side was that vehicles with trailers then needed to be driven there to haul people and tractors back. Willows or Colusa are towns about half way and both had motels. Colusa had a casino that gave us discounts and perks for a couple of years. There are also several different routes to return to Woodland so it became the overnight stop off. Since 2006 the endurance run has been from Yolo to Colusa and back.

There are three main routes to Colusa with some deviations of each route. Yolo, Dunnigan, Arbuckle, Williams to Colusa is one route. Another route is along the east side of the Sacramento River through Meridian, and Knights Landing. The third route is through Grimes on the west side of the Sacramento River.

The drive in the springtime is beautiful with all the wildflowers in bloom. The drive is through farmland and part of a wildlife refuge. Birds including lots of waterfowl are abundant. Farmland is being worked and planted. Rice fields are being flooded and planted by airplane. Sometimes you can wave to the crop dusters that are planting the rice and they will waggle their wings to say hi. Along the Sacramento River there are usually lots of boats with both fishermen and water skiers to wave and sometimes holler at.
Most of the drivers come from the Woodland, Sacramento and surrounding area. We have had people join us from Nevada, Southern CA, and the Bay Area. We cancelled the Yolo-Colusa Endurance run in both 2020 and 2021 due to Covid 19. Hopefully we can resume the drive next year.

We pull a portable outhouse with us which allows us to travel in very rural areas. Comfort stops along the route allows for stretching and socializing. On some of the routes we take our lunches.

Weather can sometimes throw us a curve in April. One year it was cold and misty. Occasionally the north wind blows hard and can be somewhat disagreeable. Usually the springtime weather in late April is perfect. It is a wonderful time to be outdoors with not a care in the world. Summertime drives can be a little warm . We usually plan a route that can be cut short if it is too hot.

Branch 158 has held several one day tractor drives too. These shorter rides usually are from 25 to 40 miles long. Past rides have been in three different areas of Yolo County and surrounding area. One route is from either Yolo or Zamora to Capay where we have lunch at a restaurant and then back by a different route. Another trip leaves from west of Davis to Winters and then back along Putah Creek. The third route was in the Clarksburg area in the Sacramento Delta.

One year on the Clarksburg drive we rode the cable ferry across the slough to Grand Island. We had about 20 tractors and had lined up in a row to get on the ferry. We did not realize there were two lines so cars lined up on the other side and alternated getting on the ferry. Going over we only had half the vehicles old tractors. We figured it out so on the return trip the ferry was filled with old tractors.

Do we have problems? Occasionally. I have been on almost all drives driving a 1945 McCormick Deering OS 4. I try to keep the engine and running gear up but it has never been painted thus it’s name “The Rusty Bucket”. The fan belt broke one time. Another time it started missing and then died. The magneto gave out. I had it rebuilt and it runs much better now than it ever did before. Both times I was towed in by another tractor on the drive.

Other problems faced over the years by other drivers have been a blowout of a rear tire, the front spindle crystallizing and the front tire and spindle rolling off. Surprising the Ford did not go down and gouge into the pavement and it could be driven OK and loaded on a trailer. A back tire hub worked loose and the whole wheel started moving out on the axle. A front axle bearing froze up on a Farmall near a Napa store. With all the driver mechanics, we had the bearing replaced in less than an hour. There were several times tractors wouldn’t start and were either pull started or pulled in. A few times someone has run out of gas. We carry some extra. No one has ever been hurt on the drives.

Tractor drives have been enjoyable for me over many years. It is great to see the old tractors perform and keep on performing. It’s great to show off the restoration done. Many of the old tractors were not built for comfort. There is no power steering. I keep saying the manufacturer built the engine and running gear to do a job. Then they said “oh yea, we need to attach a seat for the driver”. Sometimes it’s hard to get on or off them. It is amazing to me the amount of work farmers did with the old tractors. I love to see them continue to run.

 

Editors Note: Many of you now know the area around San Jose, CA as the densely populated Silicon Valley, but before World War II, it had a thriving agricultural economy and was a verdant land of walnut, prune, apricot, and cherry orchards. It was so beautiful that it was then known as “The Valley of the Heart’s Delight”. A good concise history of the development of the Santa Clara area into Silicon Valley can be found at https://interestingengineering.com/the-origin-story-of-silicon-valleyand-why-we-shouldnt-try-to-recreate-it
The account following was first printed about 30 years ago.

The Little Cletrac
By Locke Jorgenson


Reprinted from Branch 3 News

It took a circuitous route from the Cleveland Tractor Co. factory by rail around the Great Lakes to Winnipeg, then south across the plains to Topeka. At each railhead a few more of its identical siblings were unloaded. The train went west next through the Rockies, northwest to Portland and finally arrived in San Jose, California in the spring of 1927. The Chairman of Bean Spray Company had been at odds with Benjamin Holt and this year was selling Cletrac rather than Caterpillar crawlers. Bean Co. made a full line of sprayers and their own one cylinder engines, but had a display room of tractors as well.

John Ellsworth was in his eighties. The fruit trees on his sixty acres were mature and demanded more work now. He wished to turn the whole business over to his son Fred, but first a new tractor was needed. The old Titan of pre-World War I vintage was cumbersome, clumsy and a "man killer" to start. It had been used originally when the land was wheat, not orchard.

John and his son cranked up the Star and drove to San Jose and for several hours haggled with the salesman. Finally, the sale was completed. A Cletrac 20 with optional belt pulley was to be delivered free for $865.00 cash. The bulldog Mack with its chain drive and hard rubber tires took the good part of a day to carry the tractor to its new owners in Saratoga. The first job demanded of it was to pull the old Titan out of the shed to its final resting place under a one hundred year old oak.

The prune and apricot trees were on the slopes, the cherry and walnut trees on the twenty acres of level land close to the house. The orchards were disced twice a year and dragged smooth just before each harvest. The drag was simply a redwood plank weighted with rocks from the creek. Dragging made picking easier off the ground for prunes and walnuts and for a level surface for the ladder pickers on the cherries and apricots.

It was the walnuts which required the most work from the Cletrac. The walnut trees had to be irrigated. This was accomplished by pulling a heavy V-shaped plow down the center of a row making a two foot by one foot dike. Like contour lines on a map the dikes had to connect to hold the water. At each meeting point the driver had to dismount and winch up the plow, drive to the next starting point and lower the plow. When they were complete, the temporary holding ponds were ready for water. The tractor was backed up to the creek bank and a flat belt connected from the drive pulley behind the seat to the big centrifugal pump on the water's edge. A six inch pipe carried water from the deep hole in the creek, which doubled as a swimming hole, to the trees. Often trout would be sucked right through the plumbing into the small lakes around the trees and a little girl could be seen picking up fish to take home to her mother, Fred's sister, for a special dinner treat. For a full week the "20" ran at full throttle pumping water. A model T gas tank tied on the crawler track served as an auxiliary fuel tank to allow the engine to run at night without refueling.

At harvest time the walnuts had to be shaken from the trees. The tractor was backed up to a tree, and the flat pulley was replaced with an eccentric one. A like pulley was attached to the tree trunk with a chain wrapped in leather and the belt pulled tight. At half engine speed, the tree would give up every nut. Each tree was shaken and picked in turn so as not to run over any of the bounty.

The Cletrac worked for nearly thirty years, through the depression years, and the second World War. There was an endless list of chores for it. If it wasn't pulling out stumps from dead trees, it was pulling the sprayer through the orchards to rid the fruit of insects or fungi. It pulled the neighbors' 1935 Ford out of the creek one winter when the driver picked a poor crossing spot. If a fellow orchardist needed help it was there to assist. One spring the discing was delayed a week. The family cat "Lady Claire" had her kittens in the tractor tool box. Work resumed as soon a more suitable nursery was found.
At first light on a spring morning in 1953 the putt-putta-putta­putt could be heard as the Cletrac pulled the six foot offset disc down the rows of trees near the house. A small boy was soon out to watch and see the machine which was making the noise. The four cylinders labored at each turn at the end of a row, the brakes squeaked as they assisted the turn, then the sound faded until the turn was made at the far end of the row. Then back again in a few minutes it came, the driver always conscious of the boy.

One day the boy heard a pounding coming from the tractor shed. Upon his arrival there he found his great uncle Fred trying to loosen a large bolt on the tractor axle. No amount of leverage seemed to loosen the stubborn bolt. The boy asked if he could help. He took the wrench, flipped it over and quickly unscrewed the bolt. "It's left-handed thread" said the boy to his uncle. His great uncle replied, "I am too old for this anymore."

It was 1956. The profits were low on the fruit and walnuts due to competition from growers in the San Joaquin Valley and property taxes in Santa Clara County were higher each year. The land was sold for the Merrivale Subdivision for what seemed then a lot of money. The trees were bulldozed one by one into piles and burned. A few veterans were saved to die a slow death in the overwatered front yard of a new house or to be filled full of nails for a kid's tree house in the back yard.

Only three acres and the home were saved from the developer. The tractor was stolen, taken right out of the shed without anyone hearing a sound! Perhaps it was stolen by one of the men surveying the land, or by a construction worker or a thief who know the value of the machine. It was never seen again.

Author's Note: This tale, originally written for an English assignment, is a compilation of several people and events. The little girl, however, was really my mother, and I was the boy standing at the end of the row who got a wave and a wink from the man on the little Cletrac.



Finding That Special Engine
By Wilbur Reil

I got a call in March from a friend who told me about a farmer in the Lincoln area that was selling everything and moving to a retirement home. I called him up and went to see him. He had 4 engines left. All were apart with parts somewhat scattered.
There was the base to a Fairbanks Morse 1.5 HP T. Many parts were missing. Asking him about the parts he said they could be around someplace so we started looking. He had several sheds and after going through 6 or 7 without luck he unlocked another shed and there in the corner was the head, block, piston, and rod. There was also a bucket of other parts. I made a deal with him on the 4 engines.

We then started loading the engines on my trailer. He had a fork lift so it was easy. After we got the engines loaded he drove over to a tall thick plank that had a walking beam on it and started loading it too along with a gear and another bucket of parts. He said I could have them as he got them when he got the engines several years before. I wasn’t sure how or if they went together but figured I could make something out of the gear and beam.

I got the engines home and started putting parts to the correct engines. After working on 2 of the horizontal engines I started assembly on the FM T. Except for the muffler and intake cover it was all there. I mounted it on an iron wheeled trailer.

I then started researching it in Wendel’s - American Gas Engines since 1872. The small engines were named “Jack of all Trades”. One sentence said it was available in a geared pumping engine. I then looked it up in Wendel’s - Fairbanks Morse 100 years of Engine Technology. Bingo. Page 57 had a picture of the FM Jack of all Trades engine geared up to the walking beam. All of the parts from the gear and walking beam that I had wondered about fit. It took some minor juggling to orient it on the trailer before I could hook it to a well pump.

I have not been able to find a serial number or read the scratches on the head. The brass plate on it only lists patent dates. The last patent date is 1901. It also says other patents are pending. Other features show it as an early model so I am guessing it is either a 1902 or 1903 model 1 ½ HP FM Jack of all Trades. It is a little hard to start but once running runs well. I plan on leaving it unpainted.

Once in a while a project works out well. What a pleasant surprise I have had buying a very nice engine and then discovering that I also have the walking beam for it too.


2020 a year of COVID, lockdowns, masks, fires and treasures to find!
By Pat Garrison

After several lock downs and a few shelter in place orders, I decided it would be a good opportunity (under the radar) to search for engines to add to my extensive collection. Especially after two planned trips to Hawaii and our anniversary trip to Australia/New Zealand were cancelled due to COVID.

To add insult to injury, a very disappointing August due to the Yolo County Fair cancellation. It is my favorite engine show to showcase my collection, and chat with friends I don’t see often. I have been participating in the fair for more than 20 years. This only heightened my quest to find that new engine to add to my collection. After much negotiation I acquired a complete 3 H.P. Samson engine. I plan to do a complete overhaul and add a cart to the engine. Looking forward to 2021 Yolo County Fair to catch up with old friends with loud booms for all to hear!

 

This whole COVID situation
By Sue Westwood

This whole COVID situation this year not only cancelled our events, but it has also put a lot of stress on our local restaurants. The restaurant scene in Woodland has improved so much over the past few years, it seems a shame to see it go back to what it once was. I decided to do my part to help promote local restaurant take-out and take advantage of the empty streets by driving my Farmall Super A to local restaurants for takeout dinners and livestreaming the effort on Facebook. People seemed to enjoy my drives through scenic Woodland and complained when I swapped the tractor for a motorcycle when it got too hot and the streets too busy. The motorcycle? A brand new 2020 BMW F750GS that I have put 4,000 miles on in about two months as of this writing.

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Like us on Facebook!


Branch 158 is on Facebook with a group page devoted to the club. When you are on Facebook, just type “Yolo Antique Power Association” into the search bar and you will find our group page. Please join the group so you can post about our events and share your photos of them with us. In other words, Like us on Facebook!

 

 

 

 

Plow Day 2015

Branch 158 Fall Plow Day 2015

Our Ninth Annual Plow Day was successfully held on November 7, 2015 at the Beeman Ranch on Road 95 west of Woodland. We had some rain about a week before, but the heavy clay ground was still a bit too dry for ideal plowing. At least this year, we were on safflower stubble, so we did not have any plugging problems. We plowed a lot more ground than last year and there was enough good ground to satisfy all who showed up. In addition to plowing, we also did some disking and dragging.
We would like to thank Greg Rieff, who is currently farming this land, for allowing us to dig up the soil a little bit. He appreciated that we opened up a bit of ground for him to seed for his haying operation. Greg also loaned us his forklift. Thanks also to Wilbur Reil for providing the signage as the field was a good distance from the road. Thanks to Mike Cristler for arranging the use of the land. See you out here again next year as this is a well received hands on event that is quite different from the rest of our show schedule.

Below: Plow Day 2015 Photos by Howard Hatshek

 

 

Plow Day 2014

 

Plow Day 2013

Branch 158 Plow Day November 2012

Branch 158 Plow Day 2010

Branch 158 hosted a very successful Plow Day on Nov 13, 2010. Three perfects! - The location at Silmer Scheidel’s ranch in Pleasant Grove, the weather, cool and sunny, and the soil, with just the right amount of moisture. No count, but there were 30 to 40 tractors present and about 60 acres were plowed and disked. Photos courtesy of Wilbur Reil


The shiny plow says it all



An overview of the grounds


Good plowing is a straight, deep cut with the soil fully turned-Erwin Graves on his Farmall pulling JD No. 52 plow


John Boehm contemplating setting up a few plows to begin the day


Jeff Wallom and his Eagle tractor did a slow but thorough job


Host Silmer Scheidel on one of his Minneapolis-Molines


Bob Hinds unstyled JD B


Lee Hardesty with his JD G


Don Boulet on JD 820 and 4 bottom plow


John Boehm trying Don’s Farmall M


Wyatt Coppin on his dad’s Cat 10


Warren Berg disking with his modified Cletrac


Sue Esdaile knows how to handle Lowell Coppin’s Cat 60


Frank Vantacich and his AC WD.


Lowell on his Cat 60




Joe Freitas

Joseph Lorenzo Freitas, Jr. was born July 13, 1933 in St. Helena, CA. He died December 17, 2018. He was born to Joseph Lorenzo, Sr and wife Lela. His brother William preceeded him in death.

Joe graduated from Armijo High School in Fairfield, CA. He worked at a gas station in high school where he also started doing car repairs. He developed and used his outstanding mechanical abilities throughout his life. Joe worked for tractor and farm equipment dealerships in Fairfield, Petaluma, Red Bluff, and Woodland, CA. For many years, he was the service manager for Woodland Tractor in Woodland. He finished his career in the Service department of Elm Ford in Woodland.

Joe met his wife, Donna, at church. They married in 1953 in Petaluma. They raised three children, Richard, Melody, and Susan in Woodland. He was active in church as a Sunday school teacher and deacon. He also volunteered for many projects, such as maintaining the buses. Joe and Donna helped to start a church related camp in 1964 in the high Sierras, Pilot Lake Camp. Joe served on the Board of Directors. Joe volunteered for Woodland Christian School projects, including digging trenches for construction with a backhoe.

Joe and Donna shared a love for animals. He loved cars, riding motorcycles, fishing, hunting waterfowl, rebuilding and restoring old tractors, and meeting up with his buddies at Starbucks. He was a longtime member of Branch 158 Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association.

Joe’s loving wife of 60 years, Donna, preceded him in death. He is survived by his three children and five grandchildren.

Joe’s hard work ethic, friendly and kind manner, generosity, and grateful spirit will be greatly missed.

 

 

 



Floyd Percival

by John Boehm

Floyd Percival passed away February 13, 2010. He was born in Meeker, Oklahoma on December 22, 1926 and grew up on a farm near Shawnee, Oklahoma. Floyd's parents grew corn, grain, hogs, and cattle. With all the chores that needed to be done, Floyd certainly was not spoiled. By the time he was ten years old, he was out in the field with a pair of bib overalls and a team of mules. Floyd still had the overalls to the end, though I suspect they were a few sizes larger by then. The Dust Bowl hit Oklahoma hard, so in 1938, Floyd and his father left the farm and moved to Capay, California. He married his first wife, then in the mid 1940's, his sons, Wayne and Jerry were born. He found work on a pipeline, then at a copper mine in Arizona. But a big, hot hole in the ground and no trees was a bit too much and he soon found his way back to California. He worked at various ranches in the Madison area for the next fifteen years. For a time, he also had a gas station in Esparto. In 1958, Floyd was remarried to Augie and they had five daughters. In 1959, he started work as a mechanic for the City of Woodland. He retired in the mid 1980's as the foreman of the vehicle maintenance shop.

Floyd never forgot his roots in farming. He was introduced to collecting antique engines and tractors by Cliff Hardy. Floyd joined Branch 13 of the Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association shortly after it was formed in the mid 1970's. Over the years, he served as Vice President for three years, President for three years, and many more years on the board of directors. More recently, he was instrumental in founding of Branch 158 of the Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association. He had been on its board of directors since 2004. He was also a volunteer at the Heidrick Ag History Center.

I first met Floyd when I joined Branch 13 in 1979. Then when we moved to Woodland in 1992, I really got to know him better. I started going in to the morning coffee group at Denny's once in a while. Floyd was always there and welcomed and encouraged me to come. Today I am still not much of a mechanic, but was really a greenhorn back then. Floyd always had the time to willingly and patiently show me how to do the various jobs involved in bringing an old machine back to life. Floyd really became a mentor to me. More recently, I got a grain binder and a threshing machine for our shows. Once again, Floyd was the man with the needed knowledge to set up and operate them. He took his time to instruct me, but I think he had fun getting the old machines going, too. I know that we will all miss his vast store of knowledge, his tales of how things were done in the past, and his helpful encouragement.

Floyd was a quiet leader who could and did get things done. For many years he ran the antique machinery display at the California State Fair Farm, coordinating the display, supervising all the helpers, and putting on a good show for the spectators. He was not content to keep doing the same old shows over and over again. Not one to sit around, he challenged us often by pushing us to start new events and expand older ones. For instance, six years ago, he told us that he was going to go on a two day 120 mile tractor drive, whether or not we joined him. We thought he was crazy when he first proposed it, but he persisted, and this drive has now evolved into the Branch 158 Colusa Endurance Run. Those of us who have participated now realize how doable it really was and that it was not beyond our capabilities. We have repeated this ride every year since then.

Floyd did start to slow down some in the past few years as health problems started to take more of a toll on his body. But he was active and alert to the end, just the way he would have wanted it. Even though he could no longer drive due to failing eyesight, he was usually eager to ride along when I went to deliver or pick up another old tractor. He enjoyed seeing the countryside and sharing in the discovery of some new old iron. Two weeks before his death, we found another tractor that he was interested in buying. We were making plans to take a look at it, when we found out it already had just been sold, so that was one that got away. He still had projects he planned to complete, ideas for the shows, and words of advice and encouragement.

Floyd was one of my best friends. And one could not have asked for a better friend. He was always helpful. I have never seen him get mad at anyone. Upset, maybe, but not mad. Floyd may not have been rich in monetary terms, but he was rich in the knowledge that he had of people and things. He understood how people thought and knew when they were not being honest with him, but usually did not let on that he did. He had a wealth of knowledge about old time farming methods and tractor and equipment repair. This knowledge he was willing to share and we have all learned much from him over the years. Floyd was a great father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and a true friend who will be greatly missed.

1. Young poppa Floyd holding Jerry with Wayne sitting on the car



2. Floyd baling hay in Capay with the Ford 9N



3. The living accomodations on the ranch



4. Floyd taking the freshly killed deer home, Capay, 1944 (note the alternate high clearance
wheels on the Ford that were used while cultivating).

 

Oil for Old Tractors
Today's modern motor oil meets "SJ" specs - the oil that our old tractor engines were designed for something like SA or even earlier. Usually we get told that newer oil is better, but is it true? And if true, better in what way? Engine oil contains many additives, and the primary anti-wear and anti-oxidation additive is a chemical by the name of zinc dialkyl dithiophosphate (ZDDP). ZDDP, while good for engine wear and reduced corrosion is bad for catalytic converters. New oils have less ZDDP to make the catalytic converters live. But this is a compromise which results in more engine wear and internal corrosion. Older engines want a good big dose of ZDDP to keep engine wear down. New engine oil may be good for catalytic converters, but it's not as good for your engine from the point of view of reducing corrosion. Fuels of today often have oxygenates - MTBE or Ethanol - added to them. A trace of these oxygenates gets into the engine oil, and apparently these chemicals are tremendously corrosive, and they attack gaskets, seals, and certain metals. No problem for automakers; they choose new polymers and alloys that are immune to these attacks. But what's to prevent the attacks and the corrosion in older engines? For a seldom used engine, corrosion is a much bigger problem than wear, even the wear from starting an engine that's been sitting long enough to drain oil off most of its rubbing surfaces - because one little patch of rust on that same rubbing surface is doomsday.

While you could design a custom oil for this problem, the best off the shelf oil is 'heavy duty' oil intended for Diesel trucks. Instead of SJ, look for combinations that begin with C (for Compression ignition). CG-4 is the latest. While the oil part of these diesel oils has the same lubricating qualities as passenger car oil, the most common heavy-duty viscosity is 15W-40; more syrupy. But the diesel oils get bigger doses of additives; up to 80% more ZDDP, the anti-wear/anti-corrosion additive, and 30 to 50% more detergent, dispersant, and corrosion inhibitors. Good news if you have sticky rings, erratic compression, and blue exhaust smoke. This high-detergent oil will quickly free them up.For corrosion, heavy-duty oil is the silver-bullet solution. So, older conventional oils protect your older engine better than newer oils and the best modern oil for the engine of your old tractor is oil designed for diesel trucks!

From Material Supplied by Warren Berg