The American Garage

Posts from category "Season 1"

The American Garage Episode 1 S01E01

DB Project- Week of December 1(2011)

Hello Projecteers!

As you have no doubt just enjoyed the first episode of TAG, I thought I would give you a little more info about the project we have acquired. There are a few little details that we did not make evident in the show. First of all, here is a picture of our project when we purchased it.As you can see, it is not just one David Bradley, but two. They came with old Briggs & Stratton engines, and was received in a basket case condition. What is a basket case? Go take something apart, throw all the parts in a big basket, and all the nuts an bolts in a box, give them a big shake, hand to someone else and voila! Here is a funny side note about the purchase. I called the guy and asked him how much to purchase the DB’s. He said $150. I said ok. He said, “Well now you don’t have to be so hard nosed about it. Ok, $125.” I said ok. He said,” You really drive a hard bargain! Okay, $100, and that is my final offer!” I said ok, but you better stop before I get it for free. Ha! I never knew I had such fantastic negotiating skills. I did try to work this little story into the script but it just didn’t work. So, here it is. Now, we will get into detail on the different aspects of the restoration, so if you have any questions, drop me a note and I will answer your questions on the website as best I can.


The American Garage Episode 2 S01E02


In episode 2 we start the tear-down process on the David Bradley Garden Tractor project.

DB Project- week of December 20(2011)

First of all, MERRY CHRISTMAS from The American Garage! I can’t believe we are already here! We have just released Episode 2, which focuses on tear-down and project organization. So let me let you in on a secret- folks have taken machines apart and did not stay organized and the project rarely succeeds. At the onset of this project, the garage was not all that organized. Look carefully in the background- the shelves are full of scrap wood, there is a junk car in the other bay, and I am talking about organization! Not to worry, I put my money where my mouth is and got rid of the car, and cleaned up 3 of the shelves. Keep a watchful eye on the surroundings as the episodes are released, you will see the garage become more functional and organized. So, don’t be thinking that because we have this show we are perfect or have sponsors that come in and magically clean things up- no sirree. This is a process for me as well as for you. So the message here is this: it can be done! If you get the shop organized before you take your project apart, you will be better off. Even if you use the bag process, if you are constantly moving parts around the garage and moving and combining boxes, you are not yet organized, and stuff gets lost. For this project, I am going to make a special area where all the parts will be kept, and nothing else. Don’t turn your garage into a giant parts tumbler, moving things and re-stacking things all the time. You will lose more then you gain half the time, even with 110% effort. (How’s that for garage math?!) Tear-down is fun. It is the part of the project that goes the fastest, but also where you will set the course of the project success or failure. Once things start coming apart, you want to just keep going for the fun of it. Don’t forget to document. Another thing- be careful! You may inadvertently tear up a piece that is irreplaceable- then what? Treat every piece as if it were one of a kind, because some of them may be. Email me your questions and comments, or post them at the bottom of the page. I look forward to hearing from all of you and what ideas that have been sparked. Stephen

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.


Metal Casting!

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