Rebuilding the New Idea Manure Spreader
by Michael Mangen of Necedah, WI
This January , I got an exciting fat envelope here at the Journal office. Inside was this article on rebuilding New Idea spreaders along with a note from the authors, Mr. and Mrs. Michael Mangen of Necedah, Wisconsin. The Mangen’s operate “St. Joseph’s Implement” where they rebuild horse-drawn manure spreaders and manufacture breaking carts and multiplehitch forecarts. In the note Michael said, “Believe me, it’s much simpler to rebuild spreaders than it is writing, typing and picture-taking.” I think you’ll agree that the Mangen’s special effort to share what they know and do is a real plus for all of us. I, for one, really appreciate their time and effort in putting together this material.
Michael wanted me to mention that the No. 8, as well as the 10’s, can be rebuilt. Also he said that if you own an old spreader in need of rebuilding and you want someone else to do the hard part, you can save labor-time and money if you take the wood sides and bed out yourself before sending the machine in for rebuilding.
The diagrams and parts listings might help you identify something you need or don’t understand. A very big thank you to the Mangens. This sort of thing all adds up to better odds for us horse farmers. LRM
In all the pages of American business history, there are few stories equal to that of New Idea as a graphic illustration of the American free enterprise system. From an idea in the mind of an Ohio village schoolmaster has grown a company whose products are known and respected throughout North America and the world. It is a story of vision, hard work and trouble and heartbreaks, ingenuity, perseverance and success. Joseph Oppenheim was the schoolmaster with vision. He was concerned that at certain periods of the year, many of the boys in his school at Maria Stein, Ohio stayed at home several days each month to help in the back-bending job of unloading manure from wagons. Some crude wagon unloaders were in use then, but they were not satisfactory. The difficulty was that they did not spread the material any wider than the width of the wagon bed. He got his inspiration while watching a game of “tom ball” in the school yard. He noticed that when the ball was struck with the bat – a flat board – held at different angles, the ball was deflected to one side or the other.
One evening, with the help of his eldest son, B.C. Oppenheim, he knocked the end from a wooden cigar box and built into it a rotary paddle distributor, with the blades set at an angle. Then they filled the simulated wagon bed with chaff and operated this small distributor with power from the drivewheel of a sewing machine. This little experiment convinced Mr. Oppenheim that his idea had possibilities… Neighbors called the revolutionary manure spreaders “Oppenheim’s New Idea”… which is the origin of the company name.
Despite discouragements, Mr. Oppenheim kept steadily at his task – building, experimenting, testing his machines on neighboring farms. After months of trial and labor, six spreaders were completed and sold. Manure was spread widely, and the mechanism was quickly nicknamed “the widespread”… By 1924 Joseph Oppenheim’s idea had greatly expanded to meet the ever-increasing demand for farm machinery. This plant was capable of turning out 125 New Idea manure spreaders in an eight-hour day. That means that a finished spreader was completed every three minutes… The extremely popular Model 8 Spreader was introduced in New Idea’s Silver Anniversary year, 1924. It featured automotive type steering and an oscillating front truck which gave the machine great flexibility and made it easy to handle.
Taken from New Idea’s “75 Years The New Idea, 1899-1974”
To select a Model 8, 10 or 10A for rebuilding, if you have a few to choose from – All New Idea spreaders have the raised words New Idea, Coldwater, Ohio on the bull gear. To identify a No. 8 – the sides are straight from the top to the bottom, the floor has angle irons from side to side. The front end is auto type steering. The identification tag was on the wood behind the conveyor feed selector. The No. 8 is being rebuilt in many areas due to the shortage of 10A’s and because they are still very popular. The model 10 had the identification tag in the same location as the No. 8 (Pic. 1). The model 10A had the identification tag riveted to the frame under the main feed selector (Pic. 2). The 10A is the most recent of the spreaders and all three can be rebuilt. The 10 and 10A are the most popular for rebuilding as parts are available for putting these spreaders back into use.
The main items to check if you have a selection of spreaders to choose from or if you are rebuilding your present spreader are:
- Check the rear axle; the axle bearings located at the frame on both sides are sometimes badly worn and in some cases have never been greased, which causes the rear axle to be grooved severely. The No. 10 is exceptionally bad for this because they were steel roller bearings and they rusted which caused the axle to wear (Pic. 3). The 10A had a bronze steel backed bushing, which in most cases never caused the axle to wear (Pic. 4). If you have a 10, the newer 10A bearings will interchange.
- In most cases the conveyor feed shaft and sprockets are worn badly and need to be replaced. These are identical on the 10 and 10A.
- Check the shaft and bearings on the main cylinder. If it is a No. 10, these bearings are similar to the bearings on the axle and are normally worn, which also ruins the cylinder shaft.
These items mentioned will determine the amount of labor and cost of putting the spreader in condition to work again.
The following will consist of a basic step-by-step procedure which we have found as most successful in the complete rebuilding of a spreader.
- Put the spreader on blocks and remove the rear wheels.
- Remove all shields.
- Remove all chains.
- Remove widespread.
- Remove upper and lower cylinder.
- Remove angle irons from the top of the sides.
- Remove feed rod and drive rod, these connect the levers to the rear mechanism.
- Remove seat and bracket and flat iron from the front endgate.
- Remove all mounting brackets that hold the mechanisms to the sides of the spreader.
- Remove conveyor chain from the floor of the spreader.
If possible, measure or save the old rotten or worn boards for the location of the driving components which are fastened to the sides of the spreader. This will be very helpful for the reconstruction of the spreader.
Using a chain saw, cut as close to the angle irons as possible (Pic. 5). Cut on one side only. This will give better leverage for removing the old wood (Pic. 6). After removing the wood from the sides, do the same to the floor. Save the wood from the four corners of the floor if possible for a pattern. These corners contain notches for the sprockets to run freely (Pic. 7).
Using a bolt cutter, cut the rivets from the sides and floor of the frame (Pic. 8). A large hammer (about 2 pounds) will remove the rivets from the frame, a hole will remain. Use another hammer on the reverse side of the angles to keep them from bending or vibrating. Carefully inspect the whole frame for twists, cracks and excessive rust.
Inspect the angle irons which go from the rear axle to the widespread (Fig. 1, no. 1). The majority of these angle irons are cracked or heavily pitted from rust. If you are planning on using your spreader for a long time, these should be replaced. To replace these angles which were originally riveted to the plate above the rear axle bearing, cut the rivet heads off with a torch and punch the remainder of the rivet out (Pic. 9). Use 3/8″ x 1″ carriage bolts and lock washers to fasten the new angles to the frame.
Clean and paint the frame if desired. This helps to find any cracks or spots on the frame which you may not have noticed that need some welding or repair. The paint also helps to slow down the rust. Make sure to square short angles to the frame (Pic. 10).
The rewooding is the next step to your rebuilding. The original wood in the spreader was clear Southern Pine and it was shiplapped. It is important that you find the clearest wood possible for the strength and longer life. We use a clear Southern Yellow Pine and have it CCA treated to prevent deterioration. Any hard wood will be suitable. We re-wood as it was done originally: 1) 1″x8″x12′; 2) 1″x6″x12′ in each side. The floor had 4) 1″x8″x10′ and 2) 1″x6″x10′; and the front had 4) 1″x6″.
Take whatever you decide to use for your bottom board on the sides, which should be a 1″x8″x12′. A piece of wood needs to be taken out of the bottom side board over the front axle. It’s 2″ wide, measures 18-1/2″ on the bottom edge and 14″ on the top edge of the 2″. See Illus. 1 no. 5.
Put the side board back in the spreader and mark the board at the rear axle and cut out a small half moon circle, approximately 3/4″ in from the bottom edge and 1-1/2″ each way from the center of the axle bearing. Cut out small half moon notch. Mark the board according to the rear angle and cut it to fit the frame (Illus. 1 no. 6). A small notch needs to be cut out above the conveyor shaft. After you have the bottom side board fitting the frame to suit yourself, mark the board along the curve in the frame. Rout board 1/4″ deep so board will fit into frame above front axle (Pic. 2, 11, arrows and see Illus. 1 no. 5). The board will need three holes drilled 1/4″ deep so that three rivets in the frame will fit into the board (Pic. 11, a, b, c). These holes and the routing of this is important so the conveyor tighteners will fit properly when you reassemble.
Next measure and cut the second and top board. Using a router ship lathe 3/16″x3/8″, fit all the boards into the frame. The total height of your side should be 17-3/4″ to 17-7/8″. This is important so the top shields and flare boards will fit properly. After you have one side done use the first side boards for patterns for the opposite side of the spreader. It is wise to do one side completely first using a few bolts to hold the boards in the frame. This way you only make one mistake instead of two.
If you use a 1″x6″x12′ board for the flareboards (no. 4 board in Illus. 1), the pieces you cut off will be long enough to make your footboard (no. 9 in Illus. 2), or two of the endgate boards (no. 7 in Illus. 2).
The floor in most spreaders had 2) 1″x8″x111-1/4″ on each outside and 2) 1″x6″x111-1/4″ in the middle. The bottom (Illus. 3) is not the way most of the spreaders are. The rear end of the spreader is 1-1/4″ wider than the front, so each outside board has to be tapered from the front to the back 5/8″, or you can taper one board 1-1/4″ if you wish.
Cut the rear end of your floor boards at a 45 degree angle with saw, so the conveyor will operate correctly. All floor boards are shiplapped 3/16″x3/8″. Note illustration for all measurement of the four corners of the floor. The two outside boards are identical, but cut opposite each other.
The rear crossover angle should be squared up at this time. It should measure 114-1/4″ back from the front end of spreader; this is in most cases but not always. Bolt the crossover angle secure. This is very important so your upper cylinder shields and boards bolt in correctly. Put bottom board (no. 1 in Illus. 1) in each side and fasten with bolts.
Make sure if you are replacing the conveyor feed shaft it is done first. It is more difficult to do after the floor is in. Install floor after the no. 1 boards are bolted in. The rear of the floor boards extend from the rear angle of the spreader 3-1/2″ and are cut at a 45 degree angle. Finish putting boards in the sides of spreader. Install the bottom boards of the front endgate, but make sure to install the conveyor chain slide when bolting the boards in. The top board on the endgate has a 62 degree angle cut at a 15 degree bevel due to the fact that the front endgate was installed at a slant. The top cylinder and shields should be installed before bolting the flareboards in. Paint the inside of the spreader if desired. The footboard support and conveyor tighteners are bolted with the same bolt. Fig. 4 shows how to install conveyor chain correctly for smooth operation. Install foot boards.
If you did completely disassemble the main cylinder, place the bearing plates in their positions. Mark the location of the bearing on the wood and drill a 2″ hole for the main cylinder bearing. Assemble main cylinder by putting shaft through holes and sliding castings to their locations. If you didn’t disassemble the main cylinder, cut out the small piece of wood (no. 11 in Illus. 1 and Fig. 3), and install main cylinder.
Install the ratchet gear on the conveyor feed shaft, bolt L338 support pin in location above ratchet gear; Fig. 1 has the measurement for this part. 10-1/2″ and 11″ down from top of the side and 5-1/2″ back from the crossover angle (no. 10 in illus.). After locating and drilling in the first two holes, drill the third hole and tighten all three bolts.
Locate and fasten all idler brackets and support pins to left rear side of spreader. Normally the support pins are worn badly and need to be replaced. Follow Pic. 12 for location of drive arms: all measurements are to center of holes in wood. A & B – 3-1/2″ down from the top of wood. C – 2-3/4″ from crossover angle. The idler bracket: D – 3-1/2″ down from the top of wood. E – 2-1/4″ down from the top of wood. F – 5″ from crossover angle. G & H – L400 support pin is 6-3/4″ from top of wood. I – 4-1/2″ from crossover angle.
Parts with three holes need measurements for only two holes until fastened, then drill third hole and secure part.
Install widespread and all chains according to Figs. 2 and 5. Then install and adjust the feed arm on conveyor feed shaft and connect to feed rod. Make sure the small spring is on the feed rod, as this spring absorbs the shock as the spreader operates.
Install all shields. The drive rod should be installed on the left side of spreader and should be adjusted and lubricated. The angle irons should be nailed on flareboards.
A few things of importance should be checked: all bushings in the rear axle, widespread, and main cylinder. These can be replaced with new bronze steel backed bushings. The bolt that connects the pole connection to the spreader is normally worn and should be replaced with a new 5/8″x5-1/2″ machine bolt and lock washer.
If any shafts are worn or bent, you should replace them. Many of the castings or sprockets that are good can be saved by cutting the shaft with a torch about 2″ from the casting and pushing it out with a hydraulic press. Replace worn parts and reassemble. All bearings should be checked. In all cases replace the conveyor shaft and conveyor shaft bearings. These wore excessively due to lack of grease. If you don’t replace these items, you will probably end up unloading the whole load by pitchfork someday. The approximate cost is $65 for the bearings, conveyor shaft and sprockets.
All support pins should be checked and replaced if worn. This is highly important for all moving parts to run smoothly. Finally, grease and oil your spreader well before use. It will last much longer if properly cared for.