The Tractor Trilogy
The philosophical musings of author, television personality, and tractor nut Roger Welsch -- the 21st century's answer to Will Rogers -- have inflamed the minds of a generation (not to mention inflaming other delicate tissues). Finally, three of his most important books about the correlation between farm equipment and relationships are combined in one convenient volume, The Tractor Trilogy. Even with some of Roger's new stuff added in, this tiny package still fits into the front pouch of most overalls! Old Tractors and the Men Who Love Them seduces readers into joining the cult of Allis-Chalmers. Learn how to acquire rusty tractors while dodging an angry spouse, why the best solution to any problem begins in the local tavern, and why you should never eat peanuts in the shop. Busted Tractors and Rusty Knuckles chronicles the revival of The Woodpecker, a scrap-yard orphaned Allis-Chalmers WC. Meet local tractor experts who keep Roger on the right track, learn techniques such as goo removal and fender wrestling, and get some good advice from fellow tractor fanatics. Love, Sex, and Tractors cracks the nut that has confounded mankind since the invention of the wheel: Can men, women, and tractors coexist in peace? And where does a case of Old Milwaukee fit in the equation? In perhaps his greatest contribution to society, Roger unveils the secret to male survival: The Male Generic Apology. Book jacket.
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This is my favorite because it's the first three of Roger Welsch's Tractor Restoration books collected together. The only thing that would make it better would be adding the later two.
I've read all of Roger Welsch's books about restoring antique tractors (or tractor, since he's only interested in the Allis Chalmers model WC) and love them. They're all very similar so I'm going to use this basic review for all of them; they're not so much an actual guide to restoring tractors so much as they are a discussion of restoring tractors. They're humorous, they're personal, and it's much more about personal philosophy, attitude, and the love of tinkering with things than an actual how-to.
So there is no "first remove the cover plate, which will expose the flywheel and pinion rod bearings. Using a 15/16" 6-sided socket, remove the four bolts on the bearing plate. Be careful not to twist off the heads as they may be rusted."
Instead, there is a discussion of twisted-off heads, the frustration of removing broken bolts with various tools and techniques which do not work but still need to be tried anyway because some day, one of them really will work. And there is some actual advice on tools to acquire, friends to make and avoid, how to run an engine in a shop without asphyxiating yourself, and how to buy tools and project tractors while still remaining married.
Some of the actual infomation in here is obsolete (mailing lists, websites and mail-order outfits all come and go), which is why it's often better as a bathroom-reader than a shop manual. But it's full of good advice and food for thought. And frankly a lot of the information is just as good if you're working on a car or almost anything mechanical.
The second volume here is a change of pace because it's presented as a daily journal (these days it would be a blog) detailing the restoration of one of the tractors from start to finish, so you get a sense of how much time and effort goes into a project. It's fun and interesting in its own way, but it reads differently than the others.