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Thread: Doodle Bug Scooters

  1. #1
    Motor Scooter Collector Scooter Guy's Avatar
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    Doodle Bug Scooters



    I'm curious to know if anyone on the forum is actively restoring or showing Doodle Bug scooters. I know that a few have been shown in various AACA events over the years, so there are at least a few of you.

    Or maybe you had one as a kid...I'd love to hear about that, too.

    Never heard of a Doodle Bug scooter?

    Here is a photo from Don Jackson's shop (Yesterday's Rides Metalworks) for reference. Doodle Bug scooters were manufactured by the Beam Manufacturing Company of Webster City, Iowa from 1946-1948 and were sold by Gambles (under the "Hiawatha" brand) and Western Auto (under the "Western Flyer" brand). The scooters were powered by either a kick start Briggs and Stratton NP or kick start Clinton 710 with fluid drive clutches (and later centrifugal clutches). All were painted red from the factory and about 40,000 were manufactured. About 10 years later another scooter, the Forall, was manufactured in Illinois based upon the Doodle Bug scooter.

  2. #2

    Re: Doodle Bug Scooters

    Do you have any idea where a manual for the doodlebug can be obtained? My father passed away last fall, and I am finding parts all over the place labeled doodlebug. I really would like to see it completed for him. I have also found many Cushman parts and engines. It seems like he was just storing parts away.

  3. #3
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    Re: Doodle Bug Scooters

    Yes, Doodle Bug literature, reproduction parts, and expert advice can be obtained from Don Jackson at Yesterday's Rides Metalworks. Yesterday's Rides Metalworks

    His site also offers part sketches and a general description of what everything is, so you should be able to identify most of your parts that you've got on hand. There is also information on the site about how to get in touch with Bill Moore and the Doodle Bug Club of America. The Doodle Bug club holds an annual meet each September in Webster City, IA...it is THE place to be if you're into Doodle Bugs.

    There is another gentlemen in Arizona that sells what he calls the "Doodle Bug Bible." It is a bound volume of all known Doodle Bug manuals and technical bulletins. I have his information at home and will dig it out later tonight and forward the information to you.

    I hope that you get the Doodle Bug back in one piece. If you have questions, are looking for a particular part, or have some extra parts to sell, do not hesitate to contact me.

    As far as Cushman scooters and parts go, they have a very large following, and are definately worth saving in most cases. There is lot of information and links to clubs, etc. that can be found on the web.

    Disclosure: In case anyone on the forum is wondering about me...I am not Don Jackson, do not work for Yesterday's Rides Metalworks and do not have any stake whatsoever in his company, other than as a customer. I am simply a scooter enthusiast with a particular interst in Doodle Bug scooters.

  4. #4
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    Re: Doodle Bug Scooters

    Originally Posted By: Scooter Guy


    There is another gentlemen in Arizona that sells what he calls the "Doodle Bug Bible." It is a bound volume of all known Doodle Bug manuals and technical bulletins. I have his information at home and will dig it out later tonight and forward the information to you.



    Well, it took me longer to come up with a name and number of the gentlemen behind the "Doodle Bug Bible," but here it is:

    Stephen Elliott
    c/o Silver Lady Antiques
    P.O. Box 730
    Tombstone, AZ 85638
    (520) 457-3933 day or night

    If you are ever in the area, stop in Silver Lady Antiques. If you're lucky you might catch a glimpse of Stephen's Dusenberg Boat Tail Speedster.

  5. #5

    Re: Doodle Bug Scooters

    Thank you for not only the address, but also your quick reply. My Dad always told me that people connected to scooters are a special breed. He said people just helped each other out, I guess he was right.

  6. #6

    Re: Doodle Bug Scooters

    Just found this place.

    In 1955 I got a Doodlebug rolling frame and motorised it when I was
    in high school. Recently I got another one not so complete and I'm
    working on it.

    Here are some patents that turned up on Google patents
    that relate to Doodlebugs.

    MERTZ MOTOR SCOOTER - Google Patent Search

    POWER TRANSMISSION DRIVE ADJUSTMENT - Google Patent Search

    BRAKE CONTROL AND ACCELERATOR - Google Patent Search

    DRIVE WHEEL ASSEMBLY - Google Patent Search

    ROTARY FLUID COUPLING - Google Patent Search

    DAVIS - Google Patent Search

    Mine is missing the sheet metal, motor, drive train, seat, handlebars, fenders and front wheel so there is a lot to do. Harbor Freight had tires and tubes so that is a start. The Doodlebug is a lot more complicated than later scooters.

    Best regards, Charlie

  7. #7
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    Re: Doodle Bug Scooters

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Lessig View Post

    Mine is missing the sheet metal, motor, drive train, seat, handlebars, fenders and front wheel so there is a lot to do. Harbor Freight had tires and tubes so that is a start. The Doodlebug is a lot more complicated than later scooters.
    Hi Charles-

    A lot of information is contained in the small metal tag riveted to the forktube of Doodle Bug scooter frames.

    The first line indicates what model the scooter left the factory as and what engine was mounted.

    The second line is the serial number.

    The third line reveals where the scooter was sold and again states what model it is. The letter before the number 1046 will either be a "G," a "W," or "WG." The letters are abbreviations for Gambles, Western Auto, and Wheel Goods, respectively.

    Knowing what model Doodle Bug you have will help you get it back together correctly. The Doodle Bug was produced by Beam Manufacturing Company from 1946-1948 in five official models, simply designated A, B, C, D, and E.

    A: Standard Briggs & Stratton powered scooter. Single control lever, "horse hoof" side covers, five slot belt guard, fluid drive, fuel shut off in tank, fuel filter on carb, push/pull kill switch, white grips

    B: Same but with Clinton engine.

    C: Side covers rounded at bottom, Briggs & Stratton powered, single control, black grips, toggle kill switch, fuel filter on tank with shutoff, three slot belt guard, change to centrifugal clutch

    D: Same, but with cut out on left side for belt pulley.

    E: Super Doodle Bug. Rounded side covers, Cut out on left side, Briggs and Stratton powered, throttle (left) and brake (right) plus parking brake

    Regarding the parts that you need:

    The sheet metal side skirts will almost positively need to be reproductions. Originals do exist, but they are usually too beat up to straighten out. Also, note that most side skirts were steel, but in very rare cases were aluminum.

    The correct motor will be difficult to source. It could have been a Briggs & Stratton NP Type 306705 that is correct for Standard Model A Doodle Bugs (24-5501 A), C and D Doodle Bugs (24-5501 C and D); Type 306715 that is correct for Super Doodle Bug ("E") (24-5501 E)

    It is also possible that Briggs and Stratton NP type 306707 and 306709 engines are correct for Model C and Model D Doodle Bugs.

    Model B Doodle Bugs were equipped with the Clinton Engine. The use of Clinton Engines in the Doodle Bug Scooter (known as the "Model B") was short lived (only an estimated 750-1,000 machines), as Beam and their clients Western Auto and Gambles, preferred to use the Briggs and Stratton NP. Many Clinton engines had to be overhauled. The problem with the Clinton engines was so bad that Clinton Engine Corporation President Don Thomas wrote a personal check for $25,000 to reimburse dealers. Briggs and Stratton NP engines were also rumored to be cheaper than the Clinton Engines, costing Beam Manufacturing Company only $33 each when purchased in lots of 2,500.

    Either engine is hard to find. They were used on a number of scooters, so it's not just the Doodle Bug guys that are hunting for them. Add to that the small engine collectors, and you're got some elusive little engines. Most that do pop up advertised as being for Doodle Bugs are actually not correct. When a correct one does come up, expect to pay upwards of $1,000 to get it.

    The handlebars, fender, front wheel (two pieces) might be located as originals, but really good reproductions exist at Yesterdays Rides Metalworks mentioned above. An original front fender that isn't rusted to death will cost big bucks! Yesterday's Rides also has floorboards, if you need that. The seat will probably need to be a reproduction as most originals are missing, torn, or chewed up by rodents. Tires and tubes are available in the correct size and pattern from Coker tire. As you put the front end together, be sure to make sure you don't put the forks in backwards and that they are not bent. If they are bent, the front fender will likely hit the inside of the frame when turning or the turning will be very stiff. It should be tight, but not stiff.

    The drive train, rear hub, acceleration/braking assembly are all unique to the Doodle Bug and are extremely difficult to locate as originals. You'll have to probably get lucky and locate a second Doodle Bug with those parts still present in order to get them. Of course, reproductions of these items do exist.

    Beam also used quote a few of their own in-house fasteners on the Doodle Bug, so the standard fare from your local hardware store is not always correct. This stuff is pretty much impossible to find, but reproductions are available from Yesterday's Rides.

    I seen and have done a lot of study on Doodle Bugs...most are NOT restored correctly because they lack the items unique to that particular model, have wrong fasteners, incorrect engine and/or clutch, wrong style side skirts, wrong grips, wrong tires, and are painted/finished/decaled incorrectly.
    Last edited by Scooter Guy; September 27th, 2011 at 13:44. Reason: Updated with more accurate information

  8. #8

    Re: Doodle Bug Scooters some progress

    The scooter is also missing its tags so I don't have that
    information either. What would be really nice is a set
    of drawings with dimensions for all the parts.

    So far I have made the lower counter-shaft bracket
    and the three hole offset pulley and the bottom
    brake lever using the patent drawings and pictures
    I could find. The aluminum parts were machined
    from solid using manual machines in my basement.

    I found an old V-pex clutch similar to the A65S and
    made dies to straighten out the back shell that was
    all beat out of shape and turned the pulley faces back
    to cones. They were badly worn. I made a sleeve to fit
    the 3/4" bore to a 1942 Briggs N I so the drive train
    is about done.

    The V-plex clutches are shown on page
    66 of the January 1952 Popular Mechanics but the one
    for Doodle Bugs has no dimensions.

    I found a proper gas tank and made a set of strap
    clamps to hold it on. The old straps were gone except
    for a couple of nubs that were spot welded on but
    they told me what size metal to use. The hook
    details came from pictures.

    I adapted a 4" steel wheel from General Tire that
    is more like the original than the die-cast minibike
    hub that I had before. It has a 4 bolt aluminum hub
    and I press fitted an aluminum tube bored out for
    5/8" bronze bushings.

    The rear wheel and hub were there but the drum
    was badly worn cone shaped with a chunk missing.
    I turned the drum to a true cone and made a shell
    to fit it and pressed it on, Then I tapped 6 screws
    from inside and turned the outside true. A band
    brake for a go-kart from ebay fits OK.

    The handle bars were mostly gone so I adapted
    a set from a 1940s bike that will work. The stem
    was 7/8" diameter and hollow so it was cut off
    square and bored it out for an adapter shaft that
    was pressed in and secured with a taper pin. The
    other half is 3/4" diameter to fit the scooter
    steering tube. It will have a twist throttle and a
    brake lever from a minibike.

    I made a cardboard pattern for the floorboard
    and will see if I can make dies to turn the edges
    like the original. The front fender will be easier
    to make in halves than trying to raise it in one
    piece.

    The frame and back wheel shells had been chrome
    plated at one time then rusted some and had
    some paint sprayed on. The kickstand clip is
    gone too.

    It has a minibike seat now but the original was
    made like an innerspring mattress. That was
    the suspension. Maybe an old mattress will
    turn up for the springs.

    It seems Harry Mertz designed the whole
    scooter himself. All the dimensions are simple inch
    sizes and the angles are 10 degree increments or
    so.

    The unshielded bronze bushings were cheap but
    they needed to be cleaned and oiled frequently.
    Balloon tire bikes of this period needed much less
    attention so Doodle Bugs probably didn't get
    very much either and the same mechanics were
    working on them too.

    Later minibikes were more durable and a lot simpler.

    I will try to make no changes that could
    not be reversed later. It will certainly not be a
    perfect restoration but the only person to be
    pleased is me.

    This is a very interesting project.

  9. #9

    Re: Doodle Bug Scooters

    Just a story...

    When I was a kid in the 50's, a neighbor kid had a Doodle Bug, and we used to ride together. (lived small town in south eastern Kansas) I remember riding on the gravel roads to a real small town a couple miles away, and we would go to a store there to get candy.

    I would ride on the back holding a gas can, otherwise we couldn't get there and back on one tank of gas. For some reason I remember it had a Briggs & Strat engine...and I remember the front fender, and what were at the time.....big lawn mower tires.

    Riding the Doodle Bug was a big deal back then....I helped my friend and his dad work on it sometimes....although I had no clue what it was about, but I sometimes think that started me on the path as an avid car guy...fixer-builder...that I still am today. I still have my car magazines from 1957 & 58

  10. #10

    Re: Doodle Bug Scooters

    I just bought a Super Doodle a couple of weeks ago But I had No idea what it was untill I found this forum, and other sites, So now I need to try and find some parts, The two main parts are the front fender an the drive adjuster jack shaft, I am new on here so I hope I am doing this right. thanks jfh2599

  11. #11
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    Re: Doodle Bug Scooters

    Quote Originally Posted by JFH2599 View Post
    I just bought a Super Doodle a couple of weeks ago But I had No idea what it was untill I found this forum, and other sites, So now I need to try and find some parts, The two main parts are the front fender an the drive adjuster jack shaft, I am new on here so I hope I am doing this right. thanks jfh2599
    I'd love to see a photo of your Super Doodle Bug. Where did you find it? What condition is it in? Does it have the original engine? Have you verified that it is a Super Doodle Bug?

    If you posted a few decent photos, I could probably tell you quite a bit about what you have and what you would need to restore it, if that's your intent.

    PLEASE...whatever you do, don't modify it irreversibly! There are not many of these left, so please don't cut up an original frame! If what you'd rather have is a modern mini-bike for the grandkids to ride, send me a note. I'll buy the Super Doodle Bug off you and you'll have the money to buy a couple of minibikes.

    You'll be unlikely to find non-reproduction from fender for sale. This is for two reasons. First, not much original sheet metal survived 60+ years on a small scooter designed for kids to ride since most were run into the ground. Second, the ones that do still exist are probably still attached to bike just as they left the factory. See, the design of the Doodle Bug front fender does not allow for it to be removed without removing the handlebars and sliding out the entire front fork assembly.

    The jackshafts are even harder to find. You will likely have to resort to a reproduction part from Don Jackson at Yesterday's Rides Metalworks.

    Unless it has been all hacked up lately, have a look at the Doodle Bug Scooter wikipedia article. I originally wrote and posted the content (and periodically have to change it back). The wikipedia police don't like the fact that I don't cite and sources or give any reference material, but so what...I've got tons of factory documentation and have taped conversations from people that designed them and worked in the factory. Those are my sources. I wrote the entry to help people know when they've come across a Doodle Bug scooter. Perhaps it will be beneficial to you.

  12. #12

    Re: Doodle Bug Scooters

    I don't know how to put on pic's, I am trying to do the best I can because I had one of these when I was about 10 years old BACK IN THE FIFTYS.
    It has the stock tires and the rear still holds air but the front is blown out.
    Let Me Know what You think.

    Thanks Joe

  13. #13
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    Re: Doodle Bug Scooters

    Quote Originally Posted by JFH2599 View Post
    I don't know how to put on pic's, I am trying to do the best I can because I had one of these when I was about 10 years old BACK IN THE FIFTYS.
    It has the stock tires and the rear still holds air but the front is blown out.
    Let Me Know what You think.

    Thanks Joe
    Does yours still have the serial number tag on the frame? Look for it on the fork tube between the cross bar and the floor board.

    It should say something like:

    Hiawatha or Doodle Bug
    Model:
    Serial:
    Type:

    At the bottom it will either say Minneapolis, Minnesota and Los Angeles, California or it will say Beam Manufacturing Company, Webster City, Iowa.

    From the tag I can determine about when it was made, where it was sold, and exactly what model it is. The letters and numbers in the actual "model" line are really of little help, but if you have the tag, let me know what it says anyway. The most important info is what it says in the "type" line.

    Have a look for that and let me know what it says...we can go from there. If the tag is gone, the only way I could determine exactly what it is would be to see photos.

    The tires are available as reproductions from Coker tire. This is a HUGE, HUGE, HUGE deal for the Doodle Bug scooter world, as without them collectors would be forced to use old, unsafe, and likely dryrotted original tires, or poorly fitting go kart tires. The reproductions from Coker are faithful to the original General Jumbo Jr. tires.

  14. #14

    Re: Doodle Bug Scooters

    I am sorry to say but the ID tags are missing, but it dose have dual controls witch I have sent them to Don @ Yesterdays rides. I have tried to find those tires from Coker but have had No luck finding them, I would send Pic's but don't know How or where to put them?
    I have found a Mdl. N Briggs it's being shipped

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    Re: Doodle Bug Scooters

    Quote Originally Posted by JFH2599 View Post
    I am sorry to say but the ID tags are missing, but it dose have dual controls witch I have sent them to Don @ Yesterdays rides. I have tried to find those tires from Coker but have had No luck finding them, I would send Pic's but don't know How or where to put them?
    I have found a Mdl. N Briggs it's being shipped
    For the coker tires, go to cokertire.com and click on "catalog."

    The jumbo jr. reproduction tires are on page 44 under a Cushman logo.

  16. #16

    Re: Doodle Bug Scooters

    I found the tires on coker, Thanks
    But I still don't know how to send or post Pic's
    I have all Mine in My Kodak program and don't
    understand how to send them!

  17. #17
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    Re: Doodle Bug Scooters

    http://forums.aaca.org/f216/how-atta...ns-276637.html

    Check that link out for information on posting photos.

  18. #18

    Re: Doodle Bug Scooters

    Try Try again lets see if this Works.
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  19. #19

    Re: Doodle Bug Scooters

    Here is a couple more. Every thing on the frame is sound all the bushings and bearings are in good condition, Handle bars & forks are straight, complete brake levers & band. The hubs, wheels & sprocket are great shape.
    Nothing has been altered on the frame, the tank bands have broken off but the cross bracket is fine.
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  20. #20

    Re: Doodle Bug Scooters

    PACPINMAN: You now have a private message. Indian Four

  21. #21
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    Re: Doodle Bug Scooters

    Thanks for taking the time to post pictures.

    It does appear to be a Super Doodle Bug, from the last production run. As the Doodle Bug was being phased out, Beam Manufacturing shipped all of the Super Doodle Bug parts to Des Moines for the New Monarch Machine and Stamping Co for final assembly. I've been told that at the very end, Monarch shipped all of the parts back to Beam Manufacturing in Webster City, Iowa and the very last of the scooters were assembled in Webster City.

    I'm told that NOS Doodle Bug parts were kept on hand at Beam Manufacturing Company in Webster City until they were all scrapped in the late 1950s. There are also stories of plant worker coming upon 20-something new, complete, unsold scooters in storage at the plant and offering to buy them for $20/each. The story goes that his offer was turned down and the scooters were sent to the crusher.

    The gas tank brackets are almost always broken off when you find a Doodle Bug. With the gas tank cantilevered off the rear end of the scooter, they were especially prone to damage.

    Yours has a Whizzer gas tank mounted indicating that it might have seen use as a Shriner scooter. They often rode Doodle Bugs and frequently would add Whizzer gas tanks, foot brakes, different throttle controls, etc. My most recent Doodle Bug purchase does not have a Whizzer tank, but it does have a foot brake and a modified throttle linkage.
    Last edited by Scooter Guy; September 27th, 2011 at 13:48. Reason: Added information

  22. #22

    Re: Doodle Bug Scooters

    Do You have anyplace that may have parts, I allready sent the controls an cables to Yesterday to rebuild them, and He has all the reman. parts but being close to orig. I hope to find countershaft & pulley assembly[jackshaft] I have the adjusting bracket that attaches to the frame & axle, and a front fender.
    Thanks again
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  23. #23
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    Re: Doodle Bug Scooters

    The real cast aluminum jackshafts are difficult to locate. My most recently purchased Doodle Bug is a Model B (the one with the Clinton engine) that the seller decided he was going to part out. Thank goodness I came across it when I did...he only sold one part, but guess what it was? The jackshaft.

    Don Jackson (Yesterday's Rides) is the parts source. I'm actually not sure if he has the jackshafts...you'd need to call and ask about that. I know that, like most people in this kind of business, he has much, much more than is listed on the website.

    Otherwise, coming up with parts could be a long, painfull process, but no worse than those here that restore some exceptionally rare cars.

    You might try beating the bushes in your area a bit. I think there are many, many more Doodle Bugs out there than are currently known about. There are only about 1,000 thought to exist, but I think the number has got to be several times that. They are hidden away in garages, barns, basements. The Doodle Bug is so small that people can stash them just about anywhere.
    Last edited by Scooter Guy; October 18th, 2010 at 18:17.

  24. #24

    Re: Doodle Bug Scooters

    Hello I'd like to introduce myself and say hello, my name is Marc and I live in California.
    My 8 year old was bugging me to pull down an old go-cart frame from the garage ceiling and fix it up to ride around on.
    Long story short it's a bit of a lost cause which got me thinking I should restore my Doodlebug instead.
    I picked this up from the grandson of the original owner who lived in Spreckles CA.
    Spreckles was a company town (back then) for the Spreckles sugar factory and the he bought it to ride the mile or two to work.
    I got some paperwork with it, the shop manual and some registration papers from 1953.
    The story goes he rode it for a year or so but got so upset by his co-workers hiding it on him when he wasn't looking he bought a Chevrolet pickup and let his kids (and then Grandkids) use it for riding around in the fields.
    It sat around for the next 30 years or so and when the family was clearing out the barn they found it buried under, well I don't really know.
    I worked with the grandsons wife and she new I was 'into' scooters, I have an old Lambretta and a couple of Vespa's, and she asked if I was interested in buying it.
    I went and had a look, I didn't even haggle, gave them what they were asking and loaded it on the truck and brought it home.
    I have a friend who is a Cushman man but I had never heard of a Doodlebug.
    I have some photo's, I will attempt to attach them, these are from when I brought it home in October 06.
    Since then I have dismantled it, media blasted the frame, wheels and forks etc and primer coated them.
    That's about it.
    The motor needs a magician, it has compression, but I am too scared to put a wrench near it for fear of shearing something off.
    What do you think?
    I think it is a Super, because it has the brake and park brake, the engine is an NP.
    I hope you can see the embossing on the I.D. plate.
    A few months after I bought it the wife came up to me with a package, it was the side skirts!
    They had found them in another shed on the property!
    They are aluminum with rounded ends.
    I'll have to dig them out of storage and take some pics.
    Anyway (hopefully) here's some photo's.
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  25. #25
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    Re: Doodle Bug Scooters

    Hi Marc,

    Neat story on how you came by your Doodle Bug. It is indeed a Super Doodle Bug as the tag indicates it is an "E," and it has the dual control levers with parking brake.

    Your machine actually looks pretty good in terms of what you're starting with. It has a correct Briggs NP, correct type of clutch, correct (late) carb, both control levers, jackshaft pulley, frame ID tag, and all of the sheet metal. It's amazing that you ended up with the original side skirts (they are supposed to be aluminum and rounded). A lot of folks incorrectly use sheet steel to make reproductions. Aluminum is the way to go.

    It looks like there is really little rust on it, too.

    A word of warning...don't junk any of the nuts, bolts, or screws on it yet. Some of the fasteners were made in-house only for the Doodle Bug and are darn near impossible to find replacements for. Even if it looks "gone" you may want to try to refinish it or may need to use it as a pattern to fabricate a new one.

    Be careful with the motor, too. They are cast iron and can crack pretty easily, especially on the head fins and around the PTO side (clutch side) if things are forced. If you really want it done up absolutely perfect, pull the motor and arrange for Raceway Services (google them) to restore it for you. They do precision rebuilds and then will refinish it as new. That level of service/restoration isn't for everyone, but if you've got the desire and the money, it will come back built better than a F1 racing engine. I would try to avoid a mower repair shop, unless you happen to find an old timer with a love for vintage engines that has lots of NOS parts on hand, which would be unusual for this model.

    Keep us posted on your progress.
    Last edited by Scooter Guy; November 19th, 2010 at 12:32.

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