The American Garage


The American Garage Episode 3 S01E03



In Episode 3, we will remove rust from all the pieces, now that we are organized and disassembled. Follow along as we cover some different techniques for handling rust.

DB Project update and other stuff-2/6/12


Oh my goodness the year has start off with a bang! Today I thought I would let you in on happenings in the Garage, and status of the project and related items. Where to begin?! I guess we will start with the project. The tractor is coming along, and we are getting close to painting. Some of the challenges that came along that slowed things down a little are 1. Christmas, 2. work the company had to do, 3. other projects that had to be done, and 4. searching for head gaskets for the engines and seals for the transmission.

So I located a company that can make new head gaskets for me from scratch, since our old Briggs & Stratton engines are hard to find parts for. Yes, we have 2 of them, although with the magic of movies you only see one. We have 2 whole DB tractors. The second one has considerable problems, but we are pushing forward. The transmission seals on the axles were bad, which means that oil leaks out of there and makes the tractor a oily dirty mess. I want to replace them before we paint, so we don’t mess up the paint job. Always try- if you can- to do all the repairs after you have cleaned everything, but before you paint. I put the primer on so I don’t have a rust problem while I am making the repairs.

Episode 4 is almost finished, and after I finish this blog, I am on it, so be watching out! I will get it o you ASAP. We will be covering metal repair. We used Alumaloy and Castaloy, and we got a lesson from Kino on professional welding. Good stuff!


The American Garage Episode 4 S01E04

In Episode 4, we tackle how to fix broken metal parts. We use Alumaloy and Castaloy, as well as learn a little about welding using a wire feed welding machine. We went down to the hardware store and rented the unit used in the show.

June 11, 2012 Update

Projecteers! Alright, I have not been writing and things have been happening. Business has been busy this spring, and I had to go take care of some of that so I could continue our project. Sorry for the absence. So, what is going on in The American Garage? First, progress has been made, we took the gas tank to Don’s Radiator Shop in La Porte, Texas and had them treat the inside of the tank so it would not rust, or put nasty stuff in the carburetor. They did a great job, and when restoring something like this, then it is always good to coat the inside of that tank. Also, and here is the big news- we FINALLY painted the David Bradley! Right now I have the parts laid out on the picnic table to bake in the sun for a few days- one of the benefits of living in Texas. We can cure paint by just setting it outside! We are working on the next 2 episodes, and will get one online as soon as we can, but in the mean time I will post a bit about what is going on. Also, Chris, our main photographer/editor got married this spring, so he has been out of pocket. I made a wedding video for him and Holly, his new bride. Congrats Chris and Holly! We also went and picked strawberries and made jam- not a garage thing but we are building a tractor so we can do gardening so we can grow food so we can make jam, right? So, it all goes together. So, we have been busy- and now we will get the tractor done soon so we can share that with you and start another project! Woo hoo! Anyway, leave a comment, and let us know what is going on in your garage!

The American Garage Episode 5 S01E05

In Episode 5, Steve finishes preparing parts for paint. As he primes all the different parts on the tractor, Steve covers painting techniques with a spray can, the steps of paint preparation, and wet-sanding techniques.

Ummm, I cheated a little- is that okay?

DB Project update 11/23/12. Okay projecteers, life has been taking a higher priority then the David Bradley project, so I apologize at the time it has taken to finish this one and get onto the next. So I cheated a little- spoiler alert- the tractor is mostly together and I am working on mounting the motor. So, how did I cheat? Well, instead of finishing the motor that is original to the tractor, I found a suitable replacement that is working from a donor power edger. I did this for a couple of reasons- 1, the old motor is extremely hard to find part for. 2, the original motor is only 1 horsepower and was commonly known to be underpowered for the more taxing tasks. 3, the donor motor fits, and is internally healthy.

Here are a couple things I learned in the process- as I went to find the parts for the old motor, there seemed a dynamic change in parts house attitudes. It used to be years ago that you could walk in with a part, and say you could not remember what it was from and they would say ‘well, let’s take a measurement and see what we have that will fit’ . Now, if you don’t have a serial number (let’s qualify that- a serial number that they have in their database) then they give you blank stares and point in the direction of the door. I don’t want to be too harsh on these folks, the can-do attitude of yesterday is harder and harder to find. But, with more clever thinking, we found what we needed and had parts made. Look for machine shops- these guys are full of passion and if you give them a little challenge, they like it even more. We had gaskets made for the old motors and a couple of other things. Plus, these types of outfits are so delighted to see an individual trying to do something that it inspires them a little.

Now, about the motors- my confession continues in that we actually have 4 motors in total. Originally, I bought 2 David Bradley tractors and 1 David Bradley brush cutter. This gave me 3 motors to choose from with various problems and parts missing. They are each 1 HP, and different models so only certain parts are interchangeable. Then we picked up an old edger with the 3HP Briggs and Stratton. So obviously, that one is going on the tractor. Now, here is my plan: I am going to continue building the old engine for the engine building episode, then I am going to just mount the newer motor in the final assembly episode. Will that rock your world, or will that be fine? After all- the folks that look for inconsistencies in TV and movies need to have something to investigate, right? Well, today I am working on mounting the motor, so we will be finishing up the last 3 episodes soon, and we will get to celebrate and plow a field. But I still have the challenge of mounting one of the old carburetors to the new engine. My buddy Dan at the airport suggested the easiest way to make an adapter, and luckily, he has a metal lathe- maybe I will get him to show us how to use it, any interest there? So, let’s see if we can get him to help us make the new adapter.

The American Garage Minute- Car Repairs

This is the first TAG Minute – a mini-episode that is off topic or an expansion of something going on in the show that shows more detail. This minute is about organizing and prioritizing car repairs.

The American Garage Minute- Struts

TAG Minute- Struts. This minute describes a little about strut removal and replacement. Use caution when removing from your car, and make sure you know what parts are connected to which bolts. Remember, safety first.

Jan. 9, 2013 DB project update

I am nearing completion on the David Bradley project, and it is looking good. I’ve put a little spoiler image in this article, and I will get the episodes finished as soon as I can. In the mean time, I wanted to give a shout out to the Garden Tractor Talk community online. These guys know every detail about the tractor we are working on, and have been a great resource and help. If you would like to view some of the online conversations with them, go to and see how they have helped guide the project. If this project has stirred some interest in you, and you want to build a tractor of any kind, this is the place to learn from guys and gals that have been at it a long time, and know all the details.

David Bradley Engine Installed

Engine installation with carburetor modification

I also found a guy on Ebay that makes the decals for the lettering on the side of the tractor. The other solution would have been to have a sign painter hand paint them at a cost of $70. The decals costed $12. But here is the interesting and noteworthy thing- he does not make these decals to make money, but for the pleasure of knowing that he is helping people put their tractors together right, and have them looking authentic. I asked him about a decal for an attachment I have, and he didn’t make that particular sticker ‘because someone else already makes it and he was not there to compete’. He told me where to look to get it. Now, in our capitalist society, no one would expect that kind of generosity of spirit in the marketplace. Some people go into the market to make money- we do as well- and some, like this rare instance, go into the market to have the pleasure of helping people and being generous. This is an American trait we do not see much these days- thank you John.

Field Trip 1- visiting the Antique Outboard Motor Club



We took a little break from our project to see what other people were doing, and locally there is a swap meeting and motor show. This is a rather informal get together- one member sponsors the event at his personal shop, and members and enthusiasts come to swap, sell, work on their motors together, and run them- and just plain show off a little. I own a 1928 Lockwood Ace, which is how I came to learn about AOMCI. As I learned about the Ace, they gave me resources to get parts for it. The care, creativity, and ingenuity that went into these very early motors is incredible. These are from a time when the best quality was being sought, and how to make engines more reliable and longer lasting. It is fun to look at our history through the machines we have built, and see what we have learned.

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