Restoration of a 1967 Wheel Horse L-157 Lawn Ranger
by Jim Bollinger
My project was the restoration and modification of a '67 Wheel Horse L-157 Lawn Ranger for my son’s Christmas present. He is 2-1/2 years old and LOVES tractors. He always asks when he will be big enough to have his own tractor.
The L-157 was a very small riding lawn mower, making it the right size for small child. It took me almost a year to find one! 1967 was the only year the L-157 was made so it is very rare. I found one for sale a week before Christmas but it was in sad shape; it had no engine, the transmission was full of water, and the sheet metal was badly damaged.
Obviously a lawn mower is not safe for a two-year-old, so a large amount of modification was necessary. The mower was disassembled, the mower deck removed, and the transmission rebuilt. I used my Lincoln Electric POWER MIG® 140T wire feeder welder (current model is POWER MIG® 140C) and Tomahawk® 625 plasma cutter to fabricate a new motor mount. I also used the 140T to weld all the cracks in the sheet metal.
I cut the front axle and widened it by 2 inches to make room for "tractor" tires. I welded the axle with my Lincoln Electric Invertec® V205-T AC/DC in DC TIG mode with 309 filler metal.
The factory foot rests were made for an adult, so I made running boards and fender skirts to keep small feet out of the tires. I used aluminum tread plate for the running boards, cut to size with the Tomahawk® 625 and welded with the V205-T in AC TIG mode using 4043 filler metal.
By this point I had the hood painted and realized that it was looking pretty good. I decided to fabricate a small bumper out of 1 x 2-inch square tube to help protect the hood from accidental "bashings". I welded the bumper with my V205-T in DC TIG mode using ER70S-2 filler metal.
With everything starting to come together I was pretty pleased. But something was missing . . . an exhaust pipe! I used 1/2-inch tube to fabricate this part. Some of the tight bends were formed by making multiple miter cuts and TIG welding them with the V205-T.
After a week of up all nights I finished it Christmas Eve afternoon. The end result was one very happy little boy Christmas morning.
*The above project images and descriptions have been published to show how individuals used their ingenuity for their own needs, convenience and enjoyment. Only limited details are available and the projects have NOT been engineered by the Lincoln Electric Company. Therefore, when you use the ideas for projects of your own, you must develop your own details and plans and the safety and performance of your work is your responsibility.