Enjoy your site and the common bonds we Cletrac owners share. Would have liked to have known your grandfather from the way you describe him.
I took a detour back in April while headed down to visit my son in South Carolina. I'd thrown my mud boots in the car "just in case" I decided to visit Zimmerman's in person. It was a pleasure meeting Landis after all these years of speaking to him on the phone and doing business with him. I'm pretty sure there are a lot of other's that would like to have an image of the man on the other end of the phone too. He let me browse the yard and the sheds which was a real treat! I asked him if he minded if I shared some pictures on line and he had no problem with that. It's taken me this long to get around to reducing them and sending them in. I've got a few more of around the yard if anyone is interested. I offered to email them to him, but he did not use email. I plan to get them all printed up on Ofoto and send copies to him.
Again, thanks for a nice comfortable site.
I thought I'd provide some background on my 1949 Cletrac BG tractor/dozer. I bought it in fall of 1995 from the original owner who lived in Avoca, NY, down in hills of the Southern Tier, off route 17. (For those who wonder what these might go for, I paid $2500 and felt it was well worth it in the well kept condition it was in.) He shared lots of advice on ownership and operation that he'd gained over the years. One truly unique experience for a "young guy" of 44 at the time was learning to hand crank a 6 cylinder Hercules. He taught me how to listen to the way she talks to you about how close she is to starting or not (and that you don't wrap your thumb around the handle - yikes!) Also, that in the winter, it's best to save that precious voltage in the battery for the coil and just crank start it. He walked me through routine maintenance that is needed, and watched over me while I replaced the old brake bands with a new set he had on hand ("tie a string to that wrench!"). A number of odds and ends came with it, including an Alemite dual stroke grease pump. I had her trucked the 100 miles to my home in Pavilion (at the time) and made my first of many contacts with Landis Zimmerman, that time in search of a winch for logging. I lucked out in that he had one on hand. He went through it, and shipped it up to me via truck freight. It weighed in at 1000 pounds and really squashed the front tires on the farm tractor we used to lift and install it with. The weight turns out to be an asset because the Cletrac, with the Heil blade sticking out front, is noticably nose heavy. The winch seems to move the center of gravity back nearer the middle of the tracks. I tweaked and played with it getting to know it for a month or so. It came with the mint original BIG diameter headlights for instance. I removed them for the eventual restoration because they would be the first thing to be damaged by low hanging branches in the woods. A new pair of 6V lights from Central Tractor replaced them along with a new flood at the rear. I found a trucker from my home town up in the foothills of the Adirondacks, Harrisville, NY, to come out and carry it up there for me. He had a number of inquiries on the CB on the way up from others wanting to know about it and if it was for sale. Luckily he didn't take anyone up on it - but he did make me promise to give him first shot if I ever want to get rid of it. I got some good video shots of it being loaded and unloaded that I'd like to put on a website someday. Speaking of loading and unloading. Looking back at the novice I was, I am truly lucky to be here today from the loading accidents I've read about since then. The lowboy the driver had was an old steel deck unit with steel ramps with steel cleats. To make it even slipperier, we'd had about 4" of wet snow the night before. I drove it on and off without incident, but looking back, the quick corrections I had to make as a green novice dozer operator were as much luck as anything.
I've had a lot of fun, and done a lot of work with her since then, but living 200 miles from where she's parked makes it hard to get my fill!
Brockport, NY, USA
Click on picture for larger view.
1949 Cletrac BG with 9 ft Heil dozer
1949 Cletrac BG with Carco E#109D7D winch
1949 Cletrac BG
1949 Cletrac BG
1949 Cletrac BG put to bed for the winter
1949 Cletrac BG
Mr. Landis Zimmerman
Landis Zimmerman's mailbox