Please forgive temporary problems with photos.
This site is for new owners of antique tractors, especially Ford, N-Series tractors built from 1939 to 1952. All information, diagrams, and step-by-steps are completely free. There is no sales pitch, and no hidden "members only" content. This site has an Index.
Please forgive the in-line ads, they are what allows this site to remain completely free. This web site does not use any annoying pop-ups or live-chat boxes.
This is where you might expect to see something like, "No tractors or humans were injured by the projects and activities described on this web site". Unfortunately, that would be false. In fact, several tractors have been completely disassembled! Parts of some tractors were actually used to repair other tractors. Some parts have been sold to the highest bidder! [Tractor parts, not human parts] Playing with tractors, rusty fasteners, welders, hand, and power tools will never be completely safe. We can try to be safe, but accidents do happen. There are times when we should be using a professional stunt-double. Assorted Band-Aids and antiseptic on-hand in the shop will save many trips thru the house for minor repairs. Your spouse will be happier if some of the grease and blood stays outside. If it has been more than 10 years since your last tetanus booster, have a doctor bring your immunizations up to date. If you choose to use the information published on this web site, please understand and take responsibility for the inherent risks.
Antique gasoline tractors can be a lot of fun (and good therapy) for an "enthusiast" who likes to tinker on them. It takes a lot of maintenance to keep any antique gas-engine running right. Please be advised, the following are known FACTS:
Normal, healthy people should not buy an old gasoline tractor.
Normal, healthy people will not have any fun working on an old gas-engine tractor.
Normal, healthy people will spend way too much to get "professional" maintenance.
Normal, healthy people will be much happier with a small diesel tractor.
First-time tractor owners should have lots of questions. Please do not be too embarassed to get a quick lesson in tractor operation from the salesman or previous owner. The only stupid question is the one not asked that could have saved time, money, or prevented an injury. Get The Manuals! It is unfortunate that most modern manuals are poorly-translated Chinese, with any useful information completely buried by all the unnecessary warning and caution statements. Most of us toss the useless manuals out with the rest of the packaging. That was not the case when these tractors were built. The Operator's Manuals are very well written, and loaded with very helpful information.
"Get the Manuals" appears in many places on this site. This generates no revenue for me, it's just my best advice for the new owner of any machine. The Operator's Manual, Shop Manuals, Parts Books, and other printed information for most tractors are easy to find on Amazon and other sites. The images below are links to a site that sells manuals on CD.
Many of the vintage tractor and implement manuals have been out of print for many years. Thankfully, many are available for FREE download from places like the MANUALS area at:
Parts are easier to find for the Ford N-Series than for almost any other old or new tractors. It helps that Ford sold well over a million of them (if we include the NAA in the series). It has been much more difficult (and expensive) to find parts for my 1971 Ford 3000 tractor. Normal service parts (such as filters, hoses, points, plugs) are very reasonably priced. Buy good new parts from someplace like just8ns.com. Shopping cheapest price for new parts will only buy junk that looks new, but won't fit well or last (if it works at all). New restoration quality parts such as sheetmetal, headlights, and castings are getting expensive. Used original parts generally fit better and are much cheaper. The best trick to finding good used parts is to catch the right ads on ebay. I have been buying and selling used parts on ebay for many years with mostly good results. If you really need a part, and don't have time to shop around, what I have is mostly for sale at current market value. Some of my collected parts are listed on my PARTS PAGE. For the best retail new parts follow the various links provided on my LINKS PAGE.
If you got here searching for free wiring diagrams, all of my 6 volt and 12 volt tractor wiring diagrams can be found and downloaded from my MAIN 12 VOLT PAGE.
No.1—1948-49 Ford 8N with 1940 9N Engine (parted out).
No.2—1952 Ford 8N (Working Tractor).
No.3—1946 Ford-Ferguson 2N (Working Tractor).
No.4—1951 Ford 8N (V8-8N Project).
No.5—1971 Ford 3000.
This Is My Main Ford 8N Tractor Web Site. These web pages cover Ford N-Series Tractor Repairs, Parts, Tool Kit, 6 volt wiring, 12 volt conversions, free wiring diagrams, paint colors, tune up, Marvel/Schebler carb tuning, and a bunch of other related stuff. There is a lot of information available here. The best way to find anything on this site is to click the Index A-Z button found at the top of every page. As you can see from the last entry on the list of tractors, this site will be adding information for some of the "newer" Ford tractors.
This is a picture of my first REAL tractor, May 18, 2005.
It was obviously neglected, but the initial list of repairs was not too bad; the radiator was leaking, air cleaner was dry, fluids were dirty, hoses and tires not so good, and the steering was very loose. On the plus side; it started on the first try, ran great, and the hydraulics worked. My "new" tractor was a 48 or 49 FORD 8N. After a more detailed inspection, the engine serial number was a 1940 9N tractor. All the other castings, sheet metal, and parts were standard 1948 or 1949 8N tractor parts. That isn't a typo, the engine block really is a 1940 9N.
All I wanted was a small tractor to maintain our driveway, and maybe do a few other chores on our 12 acre, mostly-wooded property. This is where background music should start playing "Another One Bites The Dust". What should have been a relatively simple purchase, has mushroomed into a full-blown hobby, disease, or obsession (depending on who you talk to). Honestly, all I wanted was a used tractor! How did I end up creating, and maintaining this web site? Prior to this, I knew very little about farm tractors, and absolutely nothing about creating or managing a web site.
This web page started as a place on the web to put before and after pictures of my first tractor. I was proud of the refurbished machine. Once the photos were on the web, they needed some captions...
This photo was taken on July 10, 2005 after about six weekends of work, including my normal weekend chores (some of the normal chores did get neglected, grin).
NEW PARTS included a Made-in-China Radiator (that almost fit), Rear Wheels and Tires, Fuel Line, Hoses, Gauges, Lights, Wiring, 12 Volt Battery, Battery Cables, and Seat Cushion.
REPAIRS included adjusting the steering box, changing all fluids and filters, welding up rust holes in the air filter cup, 12 volt conversion, lots of scraping, cleaning, priming, and painting. This may seem like a lot of work. Other than the wheels and tires, most of this was low or no cost maintenance that should have been done anyway. This work found a fixed many problems before they caused problems like won't crank, no spark, no fuel, no power... A reliable machine is no accident. Neglect is the mother of all maintenance problems.
I liked the metallic silver and thought it was better than trying to match the "correct" Ford gray. Any paint will keep it from rusting. In the future, I intend to try a little harder to match the original colors. This was intended to be a "working" tractor, not a restoration.
These pictures were taken Feb. 12, 2006 after clearing a little snow. That was Fun!
The Live Thang from Zane Sherman works flawlessly. This relatively simple belt-driven pump and hose kit designed by Zane adds live hydraulics to the N-Series tractors. Ok, it didn't go quite as simple as I hoped, but this is a 50+ year-old machine, that had already been worked on numerous times, by people of unknown ability.
Some accessories that should be added to a basic installation are: quick disconnect fittings, check valve, and a suction-line filter. The quick disconnects have a little ball valve inside that seals the hose when you take them apart. This makes it easy to quickly remove and re-connect lines without making a big mess. The check valve cures a problem where the hydraulics will bleed back through the new pump, and the lift won't stay up with the engine off. The suction-line filter might help the fluid and pump last longer.
I had some links here for Zane's "Live Thang" live hydraulics kit, and to HokieHydraulics, another site offering complete kits to provide live hydraulics for N-Series tractors. Unfortunately, those web sites are down. Check my LINKS PAGE, or try searching for "Zane Live Thang", and "Hokie Hydraulics".
If you like to tinker, I have designed several pump brackets to mount a small hydraulic pump on any of the 9N, 2N, 8N engines. The pump bracket is the only part that requires cutting, welding, and fabrication. Everything else required to add live hydraulics is standard hose and fittings that anyone can buy locally much cheaper than I can supply as a kit. Look for the complete system description on my LIVE HYDRAULICS page.
You might have noticed the vertical exhaust stack in some photos of my tractors. Some people like the original exhaust under the right foot board. Which exhaust you like depends on personal preference, and how you use your tractor. If you nearly always operate in second gear or higher, the low exhaust may be better. I prefer the vertical exhaust for several reasons:
1 - Exhaust Fumes were a frequent problem when running a blade in reverse or using stationary implements.
2 - The low exhaust would heat the right lower lift arm and implement hot enough to burn fingers when changing implements.
3 - The low exhaust can be a fire hazard when running a bushhog in tall grass and weeds.
4 - The muffler will heat the right footboard (Winter = Good, Summer = Bad).
5 - On wooded trails the vertical exhaust clears cobwebs. That is better than using my face.
The vertical pipe has it's own set of drawbacks:
1 - The vertical pipe will catch low-hanging limbs.
2 - It is not Original.
3 - In some conditions the vertical pipe can form a cloud of exhaust fumes right at nose level.
Most of our property is wooded. I solve the low branch problem by trimming branches and trimming the exhaust stack down to just above head-high. There are some one-piece vertical pipe kits, but most kits sold on-line will be in pieces. It's much less expensive to ship things that can be broken down into a smaller package. I prefer the kits in pieces. It is easier to modify pieces and easier/cheaper to replace the muffler and vertical stack if they get damaged. Install the "U" shaped piece and straight section up to the vertical support. Make this assembly as sturdy as possible. Use thinner gauge pipe for the vertical stack going up from the support brace. That way, if the exhaust does get caught on something, it can bend or even tear completely free without damage to the bottom part of the system. Rebuilding the vertical part is easy using inexpensive pieces of straight pipe.
This is my home-made backhoe attachment. This was designed specifically to fit my Ford 8N tractor, and fits much better than any of the aftermarket ones. Built in 2005, it has proven to be very useful. It was certainly a worthwhile project. There were a few design flaws. Most were easily fixed. Additional Photos and information about the backhoe are on my Backhoe Page.
I found this tractor in the nearby town of Charlottesville for a much better price than my first tractor. It was delivered 01-JUN-2006. It's a nearly original 1952 8N with fairly straight sheetmetal. It still had the 6-volt system, and the generator was charging. Oil pressure looked great, and steering was tight, but the brakes were really messed up, and the exhaust stack was leaking. You can find step-by-step photos and descriptions of the repairs HERE..
My wife spotted this tractor for sale "with implements" right down the road. It was close enough I drove it home, and only had to cross one major road. Some of the sheetmetal on this one is not original. This tractor was converted to 12 volts, but the alternator was not charging. Oil pressure looked great, and steering was reasonably tight. I saw lots of recently replaced parts like starter, carb, drag links, etc. Step-by-step photos and descriptions of the repairs to this one are on my 46-2N Repairs Page - HERE. Be prepared for a saga, the 2N took over a year to finish, mostly because I already had at least one working tractor.
A deal I couldn't pass up. This looked like an ebay auction that was going to sell very low, and it was not too far away.
It took a while but I finally found a second original bumper for the 2N. It looked so good, I had to add the bottom rail back on the 8N bumper. The photo of the 8N also shows one version of my tree pusher. This is attached to the frame of my cutter and is much better than using the tractor bumper and headlights to push saplings over.
The cutter is a 5-footer that I rebuilt. It has a piece of used conveyor rubber to the front. This does a good job of knocking down the missiles a cutter tends to launch out the front. For it's size this cutter is fairly easy to maneuver in the woods. The rear corners are cut on a diagonal. The diagonal corners will slip past many obstacles much better than other cutters that are just a big square box. The "tree pusher" bumper works well, but I might add a few inches to each side, and maybe replace the unistrut with 2" pipe.
My original decision to buy a Ford 8N Tractor was not by accident. Mostly it was for economic reasons. Something larger than my Craftsman mower was obviously needed, but it made no sense to spend over $6000 for a new tractor. CLICK HERE for my list of pros and cons that justified my decision to buy a Ford 8N.
A more recent photo taken March 2017. I was using the logging chain to drag a few dead pines off the slope along the driveway.
Which one would you pick?
No, it didn't come with a warranty. Yes, I am a sick person, who needs lots of therapy.
Bang out the worst dent, a little paint, and some decals make a difference.
Not long after these cosmetic improvements, poking around the wiring harness revealed a hot-wired oil pressure light. The wire to the oil pressure sending unit was removed and connected to a generator terminal! This was no accident. This was intentionally done to cause the oil light to appear to show normal oil pressure. At this point, there is no way to prove who did it, and it's been too many weeks to go back to the dealer on a tractor that was purchased AS-IS. No oil pressure is something the dealer should have noticed when they serviced the tractor and put it up for sale. After replacing the oil pump and pump drive shafts, pressure is back, but some damage has been done. It runs fine and will pull a blade. We will see how it goes from here. 1971 Ford 3000 Tractor Repairs (in-progress)
These old tractors are very reliable and easy to work on. They often continue to start and run for many months with little or no maintenance. Eventually, neglect will take it's toll. Many of these tractors offered for sale are way behind on basic maintenance. The good news is they are usually simple to repair, and much of the maintenance is zero cost. If you get in over your head or just have questions, here are the best sources of Ford 9N, 2N, 8N Tractor information that I have found.
If you are attempting to bring a tractor back from the dead, please follow this link for a list of steps you need to take to prevent damage. DRY ENGINE
FIRST, before you do anything else, get a copy of the owners manual and the I&T FO-4 shop manual for your tractor. Both are readily available from dozens of on-line retailers or on ebay. You can get hard-copy reprints, electronic manuals on CD, and even original manuals. The information and diagrams in these manuals should be the first place you look for answers. The images below are linked to the site that sells manuals on CD. That's what I use.
Here's another link to some digital manuals, if your tractor is a 1000 series or newer. agmanuals.com. This site was just getting started when I put up this link. He should have more manuals available now.
Sooner or later you will hit something that is not covered in the manuals. Check out the links below and additional resources on my LINKS PAGE. Search the archives or help areas of other linked sites and you will probably find all the help you need. If not, post a question on one of the forums. You will find a bunch of nice folks who are more than happy to help. These are the best sources of Ford N-Series tractor how-to information I have found. The people who use these forums are usually very friendly, knowledgable, and helpful tractor people. Just remember that free advice is sometimes worth exactly what you paid for it. As long as you stick around, and read enough to avoid the occasional brain fade or typo, 99% of the advice you get on these sites is the best information you will find, anywhere.
My comment about "free advice" applies to this site as well. If you find any errors, Please don't hesitate to contact me. I've added a handy contact form to my CONTACT PAGE.
What do we know about, The Force?
It can have a strong influence on the weak-minded,
The Force is what gives a Jedi his power,
It has a light side and a dark side,
It surrounds us and protects us,
It binds the galaxy together...
What EXACTLY is The Force?
Hmmm....It's Duct Tape!
So, Now you know.
Jedi (Master of Duct Tape)
"Very good, young padawan, but you still have much to learn."
"A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind."
"Do, or do not, there is no try."
"Patience you must have, young padawan."
"Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is."
"When gone am I, the last of the Jedi you will be."
"Always pass on what you have learned."
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