Allis model D grader refurbishment


Well-known Member
I've asked a few questions on and off over the years, but I'll start this thread to condense, and also expand on the project D grader. It's about a 1960 vintage.

Here's my story; I own 35 acres in N NM, up in the mountains but I'm in a flat meadow and have about 2800' long across the co-joined lots. I've always wanted my own runway to operate my small plane from. There's a real log cabin on it from the 1800 that's been expanded and upgraded with electrical, and running water from a well and pump. Rustic would be an apt description.

About 7 years ago, I ran across an ad for this model D grader, which could be trailered behind my 1 ton truck and triple axle trailer. I drove about 65 miles over to see it and it was -- rough. Engine was missing, the trans and gear boxes are present, and working, the frame has been painted a billion times, and all those chipped and cracked paint jobs show. The steering was iffy, and it had a lot of rust under the seat, and around the batt area. Steering wheel is like sandpaper, brakes - no worky and the wiring harness was a jumble of plastic wires. So - I bought it. Gave the guy $1100 hard earned bucks and he helped me load it.

I started messing with it a bit, and tried sourcing a WD-45 engine, but all the ones I found needed a ton of work. I ran across a Gleaner E that was being decommissioned and the engine had very good compressions and I could pick it up cheap. I also bought 4 new rear tires(recent thread on that horror story), some hoses, and a few other bits. Read to put it together, and start grading my runway in NM!

Well, the wife had other plans. She found another cute cabin, at a mountain retreat, that already had a community runway built. So, to make it easy we just bought the other cabin too, and I can fly in and out of there, so the 35ac with log cabin has just been sitting idle for a long time. Now - I've retired, and the idea of making my own runway has come out of the woodwork and I've decided to go for it again. I have a Ford 860 with a loader, blade, landscape rake, brush hog, and box blade. This will do some of the prelim work, but I need a good grader to get the butter smooth finish on the road base I'll be laying down.

I have the Gleaner engine mounted, but - I put in the wrong D-17 flywheel, 9 spring pressure plate, and clutch, so that has to come back out and I will have a refurb WD setup going in. Next, the oil pan is coming off, and the front cover is being swapped because the Gleaner gov runs the engine at 2200 constant, and I want to be able to throttle. I'll have a WD-45 clutch and PP, and a WD-45 front cover and governor, but the rest of it will be Gleaner same as D-17 Ser 1 or 2.

I'm lucky it has a almost new mold board, in very straight cond with nice corners on the end. Also have good hyd cyl showing bright steel on the rams. With new hoses, and the Gleaner engine, pushing 4 new tires in back, it should do some good work. I also have the optional rear wheel weights that add 400 Lbs for traction. I will update with some pics as I go along, and keep up the thread for major upgrades.
I have a DD grader that I have put a lot of work into . Do you have : power wheel lean , blade side shift , power circle , aux transmission , scarfier , power steering ? Just wondering , I have a few parts sources if you need .
what plane do you have ? Currently flying a Zenith CH 750 STOL off a grass strip
I only have power tilt wheels, power steering and power hyd turntable. Wish I had a scarifier. But I heard the scarifier was the cause of the big tube cracking at the cab frame. Maybe not true. I might get a scarifier for my Ford tractor and not chance it on D.
Work on grader continues apace. I've found my bone-head move, thinking I was getting all the torque I can, I put in a D17 flywheel, and it's the wrong setup. I need a WD45, and I'm getting that sorted now. The old flywheel is off, the new flywheel is mounted, and I'm waiting for the clutch and PP to be delivered. Obviously, I pulled the engine out, and while I have it apart, I've taken off the oil pan to reseal it with the new timing cover from the WD45 also. This will get me the adjustable governored throttle control, unlike the continuous throttle of the Gleaner. I'm also going to clean the engine a bit, and paint it with some AC Pershing orange.

I was considering pulling off one of the main bearing caps to have a look at the material there, and maybe a rod bearing, but not sure if I'll gain anything from that. What does the group-think, think? Worth it to pull a couple caps?

After messing with the back end, I went up front to sort out my steering issues. Apparently, the model D has always had a weak steering setup, and luck for me, mine has been converted to power steering, and it came from a mid-60s 2.5 ton GM truck. There's a steering box, with the hyd lines, and then a chain drive from the long shaft off the steering wheel down to the splined input shaft of the box. The splined hub is connected to a chain sprocket, and there was a lot of wear and bent screws on that setup as it had been manhandled while the power steering was un-powered.

I took everything apart except the steering box, and cleaned it and repaired some connections using grade 8 bolts and nuts. I filled the box with new 90wt, and put it all back on. There are stiffener struts from the center pivot down to the axle asm to keep it from bending again. I can see where the steering on these get a lot of torque due to leaning wheels into the pivot of the blade angle.

I also have to find a huge pipe wrench to adj the toe-in. Right now, it's way off and once I find or borrow a big wrench I'll get it lined up proper. I have good tires up front, and the hyd cylinder looks perfect cond and no leaks. Once I get running and the pump is up, I should have good leaning wheels to work with. Last item for the day was draining the hyd box in the cab. The fluid came out with some water emulsed in it. I have 10 gal of generic hyd fluid to replace, once the engine is in, and pump is running. M

Messy day but making progress. A pic loaded and headed for the shop.


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If one model D is good, then two is twice as good. Right? Hmmm, not sure about logic, but didn't stop me from buying another one I found on CL for $1000. Hasn't moved in 6 years, engine is complete, but not running. It's not locked up, so maybe can make it run with a few hours of messing. Has the frame for the scarifier, but the scarifier pivot piece and teeth are missing. Guy said someone stole it! Hmmm. the hyd ram is still there. Very strange. Anyone know a source for 8.25x20 ag tractor style tires can be had? I bought highway mud and snow last time, but would prefer typical ag tractor rear rib if can be found.

This 'new' one is earlier, and doesn't have power steering or wheel tilt, and the turntable is drop-pin type not hyd. So, with two of them, I'll take one to the lake house, and leave it there, and one at the airport. I got my clutch stuff sorted out on the first one, and will get the new pan gasket on, and the clutch and PP on next week maybe.

I'll put in some pics of number 2 maybe this wknd.

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