ARPS
Blackhawk  Tractor


1937 ARPS Blackhawk highway mower

ARPS Corporation of  New Holstein, Wisconsin manufactured unique job specific farm and specialty equipment.  This highway mower is a fine example. It is powered by a Ford Model A engine, coupled to a Model BB transmission, and 1/2 ton axle with gear reductions at each wheel. The snow plow frame and lights are not OEM and have already been removed. Restoration is currently underway and images will be posted as it progresses.

This tractor is sporting 7.50 x 16 front tires and 7.50 x 20 rears.  The front wheels are ARPS manufactured with solid centers. The rear wheels are modified shallow dished AA truck rims. It is not yet known if they are ARPS manufactured. The advertised models from 1937 to 1941 actually had 7.50 x 16's front and back as standard equipment with air tires.

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Front Wheel image
Rear Wheel image

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Enclosed gear reduction units are mounted on the rear axles, giving the tractor the ability to travel at very low speeds. Top speed in low is 2.5 mph and in fourth gear is about 38 mph.

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Final drive inside view
Final drive front view
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If you bought an ARPS' Blackhawk kit it would have the radiator shell, hood and cowling of the vehicle used. If it was made by ARPS it had its own distinctive radiator shell.  The top is cast iron and the center bar is cast aluminum. The side panels are stamped steel.  When the shell is restored there will be square mesh steel fabric panels in the openings. Later, I will post a picture of the hood-gas tank assembly.

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Radiator Shell
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The engine is a standard 1929 Model A engine.  This is not the original engine, which should be a Model BB.  Although still unconfirmed, the apparent year of manufacture is either 1940 or 1941. The  Model A engine  is going to be restored as the power unit for now. It will be fitted with a Model B distributor, since there is no place for a mechanical timing advance. Later, I will acquire a Model BB engine and restore it and then make the swap. The Model A will be sold to help defray some of the costs of restoration.

As you see the head has been removed.  In the water jacket are the remains of many winters of being a chipmunk condo. It is packed to the deck with the left overs of seeds and acorns.  The plan is to do an in the frame tear down, cleaning, inspection and reassembling with the necessary new parts.  The cylinder bores are smooth and without pits.  I am anticipating that a good honing will be adequate. There appears to be very little ring wear in the bores.

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Headless Engine
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The dash is not original at all. Originally, the Blackhawk comes with one guage, the key and a choke control mounted in a small rectangular plate. Part of the plate mount still exists but the face was cut off.  A new one will be easy to fabricate, unless I opt to go with a Model A instrument panel.  It won't be original, but I like being able to see what is going on.  The steering wheel appears to be what was used on 1940 and later models.  You can also see it in the radiator shell photo.  Photos of earlier models have the Ford Model A four spoke wheel.

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After market dash
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The transmission is from a Model BB truck.  The first-second and third-fourth slider gears were siezed to the output shaft, but have since been freed.  The tranny will come out at sometime in the future for a full tear down, inspection and rebuild. Like wise for the drive shaft, differential, and final reduction gears.

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Truck tranny1 
Truck tranny2
Truck tranny3

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Most recent update  04.08.2004