This is a later version of a B1-3 made by
Rototiller Inc., which was probably built around 1944 or 1945. There are 2 different versions of the
B1-3. The early ones have a one-piece
gas tank and engine shroud, while the later version has a separate gas tank
strapped to the engine shroud. There
were two different carburetors offered, an Amal and a downdraft Tillotson. The
Tillotson carburetor was used on two different manifold configurations. All these differences are featured in My Photo Album
under my B1-3 Restoration.
data tag is missing, so therefore no serial number for this machine. This picture was taken in August 2000, which
was when I got it. Just about everything
was stuck except for the transmission. I
loosened the handlebar controls, did some cleanup, and dumped several different
penetrating oils into the cylinder and intake manifold. I showed it with my collection at a show or
two a year for several years, adding fresh penetrating oil each year. It sat in my shed until the Fall of 2006. It was
then that I met another collector with Frazer tillers and a couple of these
older tillers. He had an earlier B1-3
and an older B1 in good running condition.
Seeing those inspired me to do something with my B1-3.
The B1-3 is now repainted and running! After many years of soaking the stuck engine, I made an attempt at loosening the piston. In the process I broke the top off the cylinder. At this point I thought this project was doomed, but an email to a new Rototiller collector provided light at the end of the tunnel. In addition to the broken cylinder, I found the crankpin broken and the whole bottom end full of rust. My collector friend has a parts machine that had the parts I needed to complete the repairs. I located a set of rings and the engine was ready to assemble.
problems were encountered when inspecting the transmission. There was a patched
hole in the bottom of the housing caused by a key that had broken off the axle
shaft where the shifter slides between low and high gear. That was cleaned up
and additional JB Weld applied. The axle has 4 keys instead of splines for the
shifter. These were worn, twisted, and some missing. New keys were made and
installed. All seals were replaced with the exception of the tiller shaft
came time to install the carburetor, another problem was encountered. The
replacement cylinder had a 1/4" less metal on the surface where the
intake/exhaust manifold mounts, causing interference between the fuel line
fitting and the sheet metal around the cylinder. A smaller elbow made for
3/16" rubber fuel line solved that dilemma. After some difficulty, the
engine fired and is running after who knows the number of years it sat
somewhere in the dirt.
The last major step of the restoration
involved a new tiller hood. The old one
was so rusted and bent up, it was unusable.
I gave the old hood to Herb Sheet Metal in
Garden Way book, Gardening Beyond The Plow, says the B1-3 was the
forerunner of the Graham-Paige B1-6 featured on my B1-6 page. I have seen photos in The Red Tractor
Book, 1946 edition, of what is identified as a B1-4. I have since learned from the Hudson Mohawk Industrial Gateway, the new home of the
B1-3 model was first made when the
For more photos go to My Photo Album
To see and hear
the B1-3 in action click here
Revised: June 26, 2023