Lucy & The Great Pumpkin

Hi, We're International R series trucks.

On 2/27/99 Goodwrench attended a Bob Mitchell Auction looking for larger, more modern, working tractor. A grain business was selling off a lot of their old stuff. Long before the action got to the tractors, we had been lined up in the field.. It was really strange to be awakened after all those years. I really thought we'd been abandoned forever. Then one day, they tow us out of the field where we were resting peacefully and start spraying new paint all over us. I'm Lucy, the R-200 and I got a blue metallic sprayed on my cab. My little friend, the R-190 got his cab sprayed a bright orange. Apparently, this is where Goodwrench got the "Great Pumpkin" name.

The Great Pumpkin, International R-190
It was the big old winch mounted just behind my cab that probably caught Goodwrench's attention first. Then he noticed my fifth wheel and got pretty interested. Though he doesn't have any semi-trailers yet, he has been keeping his eyes open. The box trailers make great storage buildings, and he would also like a trailer heavy enough to carry really heavy equipment. After Goodwrench's experience of trying to bring me home on Tanya, he is sure he needs a much heavier trailer. Sorry, I digress. It was probably the winch that made Goodwrench decide to bid on me.

Lucy, International R-200
I had a 20,000 lb. Tulsa winch. I think it was my dual transmissions that really caught goodwrench's eye. I was the last to get a ride home from the auction site. Unfortunately, the day before Lew finally came and got me, someone cut the winch off of me. I have a nice combination front bumper and grill guard. I have finer tastes in life. Instead of drinking that common old gasoline, I run on propane.

11/19/99 Lucy runs !
Boy, am I excited.
I haven't had much time to work on the International trucks lately, but I've been slipping in a few moments here and there. Because I wasn't sure about the propane set up on Lucy, the R-205, I started out working on The Great Pumpkin, a 1957 International R-190 with a winch and 5th wheel. Because I guess the old fuel pump had worn out on the Red Diamond 450 inch engine, someone added an electric fuel pump. I pulled the line off where it entered the saddle tank and rigged up one of my small chain saw gas cans. The fuel line went right over the little nipple that vents the fuel can. I figured this would eliminate any worries about stale gas, varnish, rust, crud, and small rodent bodies in the fuel supply for the time being. The ground needed a bit of cleaning and tightening to get the electric fuel pump to work, but after we primed it a bit it pumped well. The only minor glitch was that it required an extra person to hold the hot wire against the positive battery terminal. I figured if I get this thing running, I could splurge for a switch or maybe just use one of the many extra ones already mounted in the dash board. We got the line clean clear to the carb. The original oil bath air cleaner was still fitted, so that was carefully removed and leaned against the old liveoak shade tree that serves as The Great Pumpkin's Texas garage. I pulled out all the spark plugs and cleaned them up with a wire brush. The weren't very fouled or worn. Figured on this fine machinery I should be able to gap them by eye. After I got the throttle linkage freed up, we noticed the carb butterflies still didn't move when the linkage was moved. This is a Holley carb and it has a governor built into it. Seems to have vacuum lines running back and forth from the distributor to the carb. When couldn't get a single pop by spraying ether down the carb, I figured we weren't getting spark. I've been soaking the carb mounting bolts and I posted to the oldihc list the other day about looking for a carb that would work on an R-190, but the E-mail program chewed up and spit out the first few lines of my plea for parts. Being as I'd progressed all the way to the point of being stuck on both fuel and spark, I figured it was time to work on Lucy a bit.

Unfortunately, Lucy was the last thing I picked up at the auction where I bought my International 1486 tractor and the 3 old semi trucks. I say unfortunately because by the time I got the other stuff moved and got my friend with the heavy duty roll back over to the auction site, someone had stolen the 20,000 lb. Tulsa winch off of her. The thing I really like about Lucy is that she has the duplex transmissions. She also has heavier wheels and tires, using 10.00 x 22 instead of the 10.00 x 20 of the R-190. I'd been a bit hesitant to try to start Lucy because she has been converted to propane. I knew there was propane in the tank because I could get it to leak out with that characteristic smell when I fiddled around with the various knobs and valves on the tank. I got my nice new fire extinguisher out of the Grand Cherokee and took it over to Lucy for the time being.
The coolant hoses are really complicated on Lucy. Not only do they run through the vaporizer for the propane, but they seem to run through the air pump as well. One of the hoses that runs from the propane vaporizer to a fitting on top of the engine was torn, but I didn't think that would be too much of a problem because there was no water in the radiator anyway. Poor Lucy is also missing both her radiator cap and her oil fill cap. I bought a new radiator cap during my lunch time errands today. Yesterday I'd carefully filed many thousands of an inch of corrosion off the points. I had to use one of my old diamond fingernail files, because I couldn't find my points file anymore. The two contacts also came no where near meeting evenly, so I bent the arm for good contact. The propane carb on Lucy was extremely clean and free of corrosion. A few months back I'd pulled the carb off and carefully picked all the mouse nests out of the carb and intake manifold, and the linkage worked well. This truck was missing an ignition key when I got it, so a couple weeks ago I bought a new replacement key switch at Wal-Mart for about $8.00. Last weekend I stood on my head under the dash and transferred all the wires from the old switch onto the new one.
Yesterday I got out my old trusty little probe tester that lights up when it's alligator clip and sharp point scrape through enough corrosion and find a hot circuit. I made sure I traced current up though the ballast reducer, both sides of the coil, and on to the distributor. There is also a wire that runs to the propane vaporizer on the fenderwell, so I traced that back to a switch hidden under the dash and used the test light to figure out how to get current to it. Last evening I wore the old battery down a couple times, jumping out of the cab to climb up the front bumper and grill guard and spray ether down into the carb, then climbing back up to crank her over some more. I got just enough pops and catches to keep me at it instead of cleaning up the car port or organizing my huge collection of truck, tractor, gun, and motorcycle books and magazines. As I thought it about it during moments during the day today, it occurred to me that with as much as I filed off of the points to get through that corrosion, the timing may have changed. The charger was on the battery all last night and all of today, so when I got home I just changed clothes, grabbed a 7/16" wrench and loosened up the distributor bolt. I gave it just a little turn clockwise, sprayed the ether and jumped back up in the cab. It really didn't hit at all, so I smoothly tripped out of the cab, bounced off the running board, picked myself back up, and climbed the bumper and grill back up to that cavern of an engine compartment. I rotated the distributor counter-clockwise a little past where it had been originally and sprayed the last of the ether can into the carb. After climbing back up onto the cab, it fired on about the 5th revolution. By pumping the gas pedal a bit, I was able to keep it running. These Red Diamonds have the funniest dip sticks. They are marked "Full" at the higher part, "Half" part way down and "Empty" at the bottom. I'd already dumped a good bit of the cheap Tractor Supply oil that I've been feeding to Earl, the Farmall 450 as I waited for the magic additive to fix his rear main seal. About half a gallon brought it up from Half about to halfway between Half & Full. I figured that was all she'd get until she at least showed me she could start. Things were understandably a bit noisy and clattery at first. I'm not used to what the air pumps are supposed to sound like and I know there were valve sounds in the symphony, but I'm hoping I wasn't hearing any bearing noise. As it warmed up a bit, (rather quickly without any coolant), I found it would stay running without my foot on the throttle. By now I'm getting really good at jumping out of the cab and climbing up onto the left front fender. I pull the hood closed, unplug and unhook the battery charger and push tools and charger where they are a bit less likely to get run over. I dropped the brownie trans into low, and put the main trans in low as well. Releasing the clutch had me surging ahead at breakneck speeds up to 3 miles per hour. That speed was fast enough when trying to get this non-power steering baby turned around in our driveway area. Of course the exhaust system ends right after the primary pipe, as I've always felt mufflers were a necessary evil for obtaining an inspection sticker. Being as I won't even bother to title a vehicle in my name until it's running and street worthy, Lucy will stick with her racing exhaust system for now. After turning around I headed for the opened gate into the cow pasture and on out toward the shop. After a slow, almost painful double clutching shift to second gear on the main trans, I decided to stop and find the next higher gear on the brownie. I was very pleasantly surprised when I stepped on that middle pedal that looks like a second gas pedal and felt the solid resistance of actually functioning air brakes. Boy, am I real truck driver now, or what ? With the brownie in second, I worked the main trans up to third. Being conscious of having no coolant in the radiator and a rather stingy amount of oil in the crankcase, third gear bounced me as fast as I felt like going through the cow pasture. I took a lap around the shop and headed back to the house where a hose was available. Pulling up toward the faucet, I was even able to get the hand brake to hold when I pulled back on the release lever so it would lock in. I turned the hose on and jumped up to drop it into the radiator. For a long time, the water just ran into the radiator and didn't come out anywhere. That's when it was time for Old Faithful. That little fitting on top of the engine where I cut the broken end of a hose off decided to erupt in a very Vesuvius like manner. It went up so high I was afraid it would get pulled into the carb. My left hand was already covering the open oil fill tube.
When the eruption had settled down to a mere torrent, I decided it was time to park Lucy from her maiden voyage. I got her back to her spot and shut her down. I then heard a hissing comming from the running board below me. There is this big diaphragm looking thing with an air hose running to it, and it's leaking slowly out of where a rod inserts into it. I don't know if this is some sort of booster or what other part of the air brake system it would be. If I can't find it in any of my manuals, I'll just remove it and cap the hose that runs to it. After all, the brakes already worked with this thing just laying on the running board, so how important could it be?

I'll tell you, nothing makes my day better than getting an old vehicle moving under her own power again after of years of dormancy. It sure will be hard to make progress on the carport cleaning or the library organizing with good ole Lucy sitting coyly out in my parking area. She's proved herself worthy of new oil, a filter, points, condenser, and coolant hoses. I'll also borrow The Great Pumpkins oil filler cap for now...

11/20/99 Lucy gets a workout !
I sure do wish I could get one running every day. Today I topped up the oil, got the water hoses connected and filled the radiator. Then I put on the 13 lb. cap I bought yesterday and took her out on our local farm road. Playing with the two transmissions is really neat. When you
hit a shift just right, no clutch is needed and it just slips right into the next gear up or down. When you miss a shift, I had times where all the clutching in the world wouldn't let me get it back into gear and I just had to let it slow down and start over again in second. I was really pleased to see I was running 50 lb. of oil pressure and the engine quieted down nicely now that it's been run a bit. I was taking my neighbor for a ride and getting some tips on when to shift the auxiliary transmission when I looked down and saw the temp gauge at 240.
Just about that time we could smell some antifreeze so I pulled over off the side of the road. Took about 5 minutes for the steam under the hood to clear enough to even see in. Did do a nice job of steam cleaning the front of the engine though. Turns out there is a hole right in the
front of the top radiator tank. When it had cooled to 200 degrees I tried to restart, but the old battery didn't have enough left. The neighbor and walked the mile or so back to his house and got his Dodge winch truck. The truck has permanent wired jumper cables comming out of the grill and already had a couple jugs of water on board. It also has a few chains in case we weren't successful. By now the engine had cooled to 180. I poured the water in and we hooked up the jumper cables. It still took some ether to get her fired up, but she did. As the new water circulated, the temp dropped down to 170 before it started to climb back up again. Just as I was coming up to my driveway I managed to hit two of the nicest clutchless downshifts I could ever imagine. I can't wait until I can keep her running long enough to let my ear learn to match the rpms to the various gears.
11/25/99 Got the radiator removed.
11/30/99 Had a fun event at lunch time today. I'd put Lucy's radiator in the back of the Grand Cherokee and slipped out to the radiator shop during the lunch hour. When I backed up to the door and flipped up the hatch, the guys really freaked out over the size of the radiator. They acted like they hadn't seen a customer bring in one this large in a long time. The good news is that they didn't laugh at my big old radiator and are actually going to cook it out, repair, and pressure test it if possible. I'll just have to wait until I have help to slip it back into place. The upper and lower radiator hoses are just heavy straight sections of 4.125 inch tubing. They are almost impossible to bend, so it really pays toslip them on as the radiator is dropping in.
12/5/99 Had Lucy the 1957 R-205's radiator patched up. There are some corroded spots in the core, so they recommended I don't run a pressure cap. Yesterday I straightened out fins for almost two hours, and cleaned up all the gasket surfaces. Also painted the fan, water pump, and water necks International red. Today was a bit cool, so I put beads of the silicone on and let them sit for almost 30 minutes. Worked pretty good except where Coco, my pet chicken stepped on one of the pieces. I put some more silicone back on that one. Got a friend to help me lift the radiator back in and then reinstalled the water pump, and all the other outlets, using all new radiator hose. I'm not sure why, but it still took a little shot of ether to get her started. I'm still not real knowledgeable about propane, but at least she did get running. As I was running the hose into the radiator with the truck running, I found one place where I forgot to tighten a hose clamp. Took care of that, and the main outlet neck needed just a bit more torque. All 28 quarts of water now stay in. There was no thermostat under the housing where I think one should have been. Truck stayed about 140 F as I drove it up and down the road. When I sat and talked with a neighbor for a bit, the temp got a bit above 140, but it dropped right down again when I started moving. Looks like I might need to find a thermostat and figure out where it goes, but at least things are staying cool now. Seems like the timing might still be a bit off, so I'll just try twisting the distributor a bit to see if it gets better or worse, I probably won't dig out the old timing light until after I replace the points, condenser, cap and rotor. I think I'll go back out and see if she starts up again.

Lucy, rear view

Lucy on 8/26/00

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Updated 8/27/00
Created 3/15/99