John Deere Model E Restoration

When our family purchased our home four years ago, the prior owner left behind an old John Deere Model E hit-n-miss engine.  I have an appreciation for old things so you can image how grateful I was when he said that he wanted me to have it.

It sat untouched in the garage until last October when I decided to start tearing it apart to see just how extensive the project would be.  I decided that it would be nice to restore the engine and use it to make homemade ice cream.

Original Cart Design

This is a picture of a restored engine and cart done by someone else but gives you an idea of how John Deere originally sold these engines.  They were mounted on a pair of wooden skids which had cast iron wheels and a simple handle.  Farmers would typically use these engines to power irrigation pumps, saws, or anything else that could be driven by a belt.  I have seen many people use these engines to make ice cream but I have never seen one that sat on a pair of skids like the original so that became the goal.

For this cart, I would use pressure treated 4×4 stock and plane it down to the original skid height and width dimensions.  These however would be ~40 inches longer to accommodate the freezer and drive assemblies.  After the initial mock-up, I realized that six inch cast wheels mounted to the single 4×4 skid would leave the ice cream rig a little too low to the ground so I decided to install eight inch wheels and add another 4×4 below the skid for height.

Here is a short video montage highlighting various stages of the project.

Those pretty fingernails holding the piston rings were not mine I assure you.  They belong to my wonderful wife who graciously offered her support over the last seven months.  I think she may have been even more excited than I to see it run for the first time!

I could not have completed this without the help of my friend Richard Hornbaker.  His membership at TechShop gave us access to state-of-the-art equipment we used to turn axles, mill wheels, and press wheel bearings.  I see an example of Christ in the way Richard serves others and am grateful for his friendship.

John Deere Restoration Project

1941 John Deere Model BN

This tractor was used on our family farm in Tempe for many years.  Before this project began, it had sat untouched for nearly 20 years in the Arizona sun!  It is now restored to factory original condition with much help from my friend Larry Rovey of Glendale.

 

Here are some pictures of the process.

I Scream, You Scream…

We all scream for…homemade ice-cream!!  And that’s why our family will be selling homemade vanilla ice-cream on Saturday, June 17 (late morning-late afternoon). We will be located on the NE corner of Val Vista and Main in Mesa, AZ (right next to Southwest Pottery).  So, stop on by if you’re in our neck-of-the-woods!  We will have our faithful 1929 John Deere Model E hit-n-miss ice-cream machine on display. 😀  Click here for more info on the machine, and to see my dad’s complete restoration of an original engine!

 

We hope to see y’all there!

Katey, for the Nakatsus