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2 issues:

1. I've had this '55 640 for 15 years-- it has always started and run well. last week it started normally, warmed up normally, I pulled it ou of the barn, exercised the FEL and it idled for 20 minutes or so, I pulled it back in and shut it off. No inkling of anything out of the ordinary. A day and a half later (in similar moderate weather) I attempted to start it--it cranked normally and started with minimal choke...but it was barely running. I was able to barely keep it going by massaging the choke and throttle and it was touch and go and never really got up to a normal idle RPM. After 2 minutes it started sputtering and it backfired and I shut it off. I checked fuel--had a gallon of good fuel in tank but I added 5 gallons of very fresh fuel. Checked ignition / plug wires and sprayed WD4 on wires and cap. Fuel bowl is full. I let it sit an hour and tried again. same symptoms. I pulled the plugs which were a little black and sooty. I cleaned them, re-gapped them and reinstalled. I pulled the cap off to inspect points and rotor--all good. Checked all wires to confirm good solid connection.Tried again--same symptoms. This is a head scratcher to me as to why it worked normally on Thurstan night and wont run on Saturday.

2. If I cant get this beast running, I need to have my guy put it on flatbed and bring it to a shop. I have a Sherman backhoe on this thing and the bucket in resting on the ground which prevents hoisting onto the flatbed. THinking the best way to get the bucket off the ground is to remove it. I have never had to work on the BH----2 questions: (a) to remove the bucket do I remove the cotter pins that hold the "axle pin" in; and then tap the 'axel pin" out? (b) I assume the BH mast is dead weight and I need to raise / support the mast to remove the bucket? Thanks, Jeff
 

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