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 So you want to restore a GT or LT? Some quick tips to avoid frustrations.

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Rustbucket Garage
Monkey Wrench
Monkey Wrench
Rustbucket Garage

Join date : 2021-01-15
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So you want to restore a GT or LT? Some quick tips to avoid frustrations. Empty
PostSubject: So you want to restore a GT or LT? Some quick tips to avoid frustrations.   So you want to restore a GT or LT? Some quick tips to avoid frustrations. Icon_minitimeMon Feb 15, 2021 5:17 pm

So with White Lightning being 80% done I wanted to put this out for anyone who wants to try and restore or resto-mod a LT/GT. I don’t want to toot my own horn so I will primarily be focusing this on what not to do. Restorations are hard, and it will be frustrating at times, but the results are so satisfying and there is something special about the ability to say “I made that work again/look and work like new again” and it sure can get you working with your hands and thinking mechanically. I love my White and I have yet to hear of a restoration that someone didn’t enjoy in retrospect. Anyway, here it is.

Tip #1: Don’t exceed your skillset or shop capability if you can.
I made the mistake of not realizing that some things in this hobby require specific tools. I had a socket set and a standard wrench set, which can certainly get the job done, but for my fabrication work I needed an angle grinder, and for repainting I needed a sander. I advise that, as a rule of thumb, remember that the more work you need to do, the more tools you will need and consider budgeting for that.

Tip #2: Be careful when working on things with limited skills or knowledge. I always find it embarrassing to have to get help, though there is absolutely no shame in doing so at all. Take your time, do some research, and ask for advice. If you are unsure of how to go about a small job, find someone to give you pointers. A lot of people who do mechanical work are keen to teach people if they want to learn, particularly if there is a common interest. I tried to paint some fenders I made as an example, but I didn’t know about degreasing parts with acetone, so my paint job was awful. I could have fixed this with a 5 minute google search on paint prep for steel and saved myself some headaches. YouTube is key for this, as is taking pictures with a phone as you go.

Tip #3: Expect to be over budget, financially and time wise. This particularly applies with the level of work you are doing, a battery+tires+carb job don’t stress this too much, but for a ground up or partial ground up expect to be 1.5x over in both departments. Be careful about buying machines that need a lot of either, there will always be a better one along unless you want something incredibly rare.

Tip #4: Make a plan, and sleep on it. I went through several iterations of mine, and it cost me somewhat. A more clear plan will give a more clear path though your resto. This can really be helpful because otherwise it can be very easy to wind up in a trap of buying parts you won’t use or the like. It’s ok to change things, because all restorations wind up different from the original concept, because it’s physically impossible to predict the future, but this a little like ordering at a restaurant: Know what you want before you call the waiter over.

Tip #5: Be careful of what you buy. This doesn’t reflect on buying brands of tractors/parts/engines/etc (there are some stinkers, but most are good) as much as it is as the condition. Again, people probably aren’t out to swindle you, but expect that “runs good” means that it will fire, but it may leak or it may need a carb cleaning. It isn’t anything against anyone, some individuals selling machines may just not know what they have. It is very helpful to know what certain tasks will cost on a machine when buying it. I use the formula of (tractor asking price)+(parts/work needed)+(time involved)=(realistic completed value). Redneck Computer Geek/Maine Mud Mower has one that works out better of buying the tractor for the combined value of all sellable parts, which I think works better. All credit for the second one is his.

Tip #6: Start with getting it running, then driving, then start cosmetic work.
This is something I strongly reccomend because if you have serious mechanical damage that should be addressed first, because a pretty machine that won’t drive is a shiny paper weight. I think it is a more sound option to buy these essential mechanical parts first and that way if your budget goes sour (which mine did) you won’t have to worry about the machine as much; even if it has rusty sheet metal or an ugly seat, you can use it like it is until things get easier and you can finish the job. I am watching a gentleman on YouTube restoring a 359 Peterbilt (channel name is twinstick garage) and he did exactly this, and he enjoys his truck, sans shiny paint job, but it runs, drives, stops, and is mechanically sound, and it can be painted in a barn once he builds one, budget permitting, as an example.

Tip #7: Buy in the spring, or ask around when people are moving or cleaning out. This was how I got mine, an acquaintance was moving to an apartment, had what is now my White in a barn, and sold it to me for a mutually fantastic deal. because he needed it gone and and I wanted a machine to tinker with. People often times will buy a new machine and see no use in the old one, or the stereotypical carb-fills-with-liquid-corn-so-it’s-going-to-the-curb. Free machines do exist, but be ready to get it IMMEDIATELY when you find the listing. These go very quickly, and if you get a machine in these scenarios, make sure to thank the person.

Tip #8: Don’t rush things.
I have had to redo several things because of this, namely when I didn’t sand my front rims enough and got a poor paint job. Be wary of this one!

Tip #9:Show off your work.
I among many others are addicted to shiny machines and fresh paint jobs, so if you are able to, put her on here! All machines are cool, and pictures are well appreciated. Smile

Tip #10: Don’t be afraid to try it.
It will be a hard at times, and you may need to iron things out along the way, but there are very few things that can rival the pride from building something awesome or having old or custom iron that draws every eye around. You won’t regret it.

There they are. These are just quick tips, and everyone does things a little differently, so take this with a grain of salt.
If you have questions just ask and I will do my best to help. Thanks for looking and I hope this helps somebody!
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mr.modified
DimeWeld
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So you want to restore a GT or LT? Some quick tips to avoid frustrations. Empty
PostSubject: Re: So you want to restore a GT or LT? Some quick tips to avoid frustrations.   So you want to restore a GT or LT? Some quick tips to avoid frustrations. Icon_minitimeWed Feb 17, 2021 12:34 pm

Sounds like good things to think about to me. Especially having the right tools and stuff to use. Some things can be done "by hand" so to speak, but having some power tools and things like a cutting torch can make things 10x easier and faster. When you've got stuff to work with you kinda get used to it and take it for granted. A sawzall/saber saw has a lot of uses. I use one of those for almost everything when fabbing stuff up. Trying to think what you wanna do before getting too into it is a good idea too.

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Okie743
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So you want to restore a GT or LT? Some quick tips to avoid frustrations. Empty
PostSubject: Re: So you want to restore a GT or LT? Some quick tips to avoid frustrations.   So you want to restore a GT or LT? Some quick tips to avoid frustrations. Icon_minitimeSun Feb 21, 2021 10:29 am

As Dirty Harry says
Know your limitations.

or weigh them before jumping in with both feet if it's over your head in depth.
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Rustbucket Garage
Monkey Wrench
Monkey Wrench
Rustbucket Garage

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So you want to restore a GT or LT? Some quick tips to avoid frustrations. Empty
PostSubject: Re: So you want to restore a GT or LT? Some quick tips to avoid frustrations.   So you want to restore a GT or LT? Some quick tips to avoid frustrations. Icon_minitimeSat Sep 18, 2021 1:26 pm

I thought that I would add to this thread a little today, and share what I found works well as far as painting goes. Full warning though, I am not a body man, nor am I the best at this. But, I have a achieved good results, given the right procedures.

Tip #1- Start with fresh steel. Most lawn tractors are powder coated from the factory, and it is challenging to get paint to adhere to this powder coat. It’s also tough to hide flaking spots or chips without bondo. I like to use polycarbide discs or a wire wheel (in extreme cases where the rust is bad) on an angle grinder to remove everything.

Tip #2- degrease, degrease, degrease. (Did I mention degrease?)
Oils, even from your skin, can make paint adhesion less than ideal. Now this doesn’t mean you need to paint in a sealed box, but take the time to wipe down your surface with a clean shop towel and then wipe clean with mineral spirits or acetone.

Tip #3- prime EVERYTHING.
It prevents rust better than paint, improves durability and hides imperfections, can be sanded smooth, is relatively inexpensive. There isn’t really a downside. I like to wait about a week and then sand the primer smooth and then topcoat. I’ve always had better results with that than priming and painting the same hour.

Tip #4- wait at least a full week to use it or reassemble.
No matter what the can says, you won’t be happy if you rush this. Paint drys first as a film, and then the solvent gradually evaporates from the top down. Thus, if you wait, the paint will be much more tolerant of compression (ie nuts and bolts) or scratches.

Tip #5- consider a spray gun for large parts.

Spray cans do not spray an even pattern, and it’s hard to adjust for conditions. They are also more expensive compared to the other quart cans when you consider volume. The paint guns, especially the new HVLP guns, can be had for less than the price of four spray cans. A quart of rustoleum is about 10 dollars, acetone is about the same. This sounds expensive but over time, believe me, it pays for itself.

Tip #6 - use light coats, and then one medium coat.

Start light to prevent runs and to give the surface some tack, then use one medium coat to give some gloss. Too light of a coat at the end will make the paint look dull. This obviously isn’t a concern though with flat-sheen paints.

Tip 7- time is an investment.

Do it right and do it once. Rush it, and you waste your time and money because you will probably want to do it again.

Tip 8- consider the simple solution also.

The powder coat on lawn tractors is durable, and if it looks bad try a wet sand and polish. It’s thick and it can be made to look new again with a day’s work. But, if you want something custom- that’s always appreciated Smile

That said- we’re dealing with lawn tractors, so don’t go over thinking it. Good luck to all ye painters, and I hope you are all doing well! Smile

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Budget_gokart
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So you want to restore a GT or LT? Some quick tips to avoid frustrations. Empty
PostSubject: Re: So you want to restore a GT or LT? Some quick tips to avoid frustrations.   So you want to restore a GT or LT? Some quick tips to avoid frustrations. Icon_minitimeThu Sep 23, 2021 1:27 pm

I have Few tips to add myself.

1. organisation is helpful bag bolts box parts and buy a good set of sharpies
2. spring and fall are the best mower buying times fall you can get a runner for under 200$
3. research it before you end up with it, i have a tractor that i havent been able to identify other then a few 1960-70s adds and i found info on it making it incredablly rare.
4. rare doesnt mean valuable it just means usually its a pain.
5. respect people and give respectable offers and bartering gets you what you need.
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So you want to restore a GT or LT? Some quick tips to avoid frustrations. Empty
PostSubject: Re: So you want to restore a GT or LT? Some quick tips to avoid frustrations.   So you want to restore a GT or LT? Some quick tips to avoid frustrations. Icon_minitime

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