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1971 FORD 3000 TRACTOR

[Image Ford 3000 As Found]

Looking like it needed a friend.

This gem was traded on a newer tractor and was sitting on the dealer's lot when I went by there to buy a 5-gallon pail of combination tractor fluid. They do that on purpose. We go there for one thing, and end up buying something else we probably don't need, grin. Well they saw me coming. Not many people are interested in gasoline tractors anymore. The salesman quoted a good price, just not quite good enough to set the hook. The hook was set a couple weeks later when the salesman contacted me with a reduced price.

The 3000 is not much bigger than an 8N, and the 3 cylinder gas engine makes almost twice as much horsepower.

[Image Ford 3000 Left]
[Image Ford 3000 Right]

This tractor has 8 forward gears and 2 reverse, double clutch, live hydraulics, live PTO, with a 12 volt negative ground generator system. The padded seat with coil springs for suspension is very comfortable.

Using steel fuel line tubing to protect wiring is not a bad idea. It is easy to form and fairly durable. The sin here was using a ready-made length and leaving the two loose flare nuts rattling around on the tubing.

It was starting to look like this tractor may be too new for me to enjoy working on it. The spark plug wires leave the distributor and disappear. The spark plugs are completely buried under the battery tray. At first glance, this appears to be thoughtless design that has become standard on modern cars.

[Image Battery Tray Closed]

Look again, is that a wingnut next to the battery? What do you think that is for? Curiosity has gotten me in lots of trouble, so I move to the side. The battery might be about to try and squash my foot. Loosen the wing nut and it swings down. Then the entire battery tray swings out of the way for easy access to the engine. Are you kidding me? I swung it back and forth a few times like a kid with a new toy. This is so cool!

[Image Battery Tray Open]

It's simply incredible they went to such lengths to make routine maintenance easier.

Judging by the looks of that valve cover, the valves on this engine have not been adjusted in a very long time. A new valve cover gasket has been ordered.

[Image Nest In Dash]

This is the nesting area behind the instrument panel. The proof meter and gauges were working, but no back-lighting or idiot lights. Thankfully, there are no chewed wires. Several terminals were very difficult to remove, and are covered in that blue-green corrosion. That rot can eventually spread several inches into a cable like cancer. There are four bulb sockets, two for lighting, and two for idiot lights. All four sockets are in bad shape. Bulbs are blown or missing.

Snap a few photos before removing wires, bulb sockets, and proof meter cable. This instrument panel appears to be easy enough to restore rather than spending a wad of cash to replace it with a cheap China knock-off.

[Image Dash Before]

Darn! The glass broke while attempting to pry the bezel loose from the gaskets. It took 6 tries to cut a new glass from several small pieces carefully stored away for something like this. The pitted and weathered cast frame was carefully sanded, cooked at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, sanded again, degreased with alcohol, then powder-coated gloss black. Powder is cured by cooking at 350 for 20 - 30 minutes. Pre-cooking seems to thoroughly dry the part, reducing blemishes that occur when curing powder paint in the oven. Powder also sticks better to warm metal.

While that was cooking, the face and gauge pointers needed attention. The face almost got painted a single color. All those fussy black and silver lines seemed impossible to duplicate. It was tedious, but working with a straightedge and X-Acto knife, the rust was cleaned out of the lines. A fine tip artist brush was used to fill-in the lines with gray paint. After that, wide lines around gauge openings, and painting pointers was a piece of cake.

Powder-Coating is great for the impatient! Just open the oven. As soon as the parts have cooled enough to touch, they are ready to be re-assembled. Cutting a new rubber gasket from an old tire tube was tedious, but free. Screws were left a bit loose to leave a small gap that was filled with black RTV sealant. After drying for several hours, the screws were snugged just enough to make sure we have a water-tight seal at that seam (not so much that the RTV is forced completely out).


[Image Dash After]

That turned out very well for outward appearance. Most of the problems remain on the tractor with the wiring harness.

The cure for blue-green copper corrosion is to wash terminal ends in a solution of vinegar and a couple tablespoons of salt for about two minutes. They should quickly look like new. Immediately after removing from the vinegar they should be thoroughly rinsed in baking soda/water solution to neutralize the mild acid. Rinse with clean water, then spray with contact cleaner to dry and protect the terminals. Use small containers for the two solutions. Dip wire ends individually or in groups. Any vinegar splashed or spilled must be neutralized with baking soda and rinsed clean. WD40 works as a moisture chaser for terminals and bulb sockets if you don't have the real thing. Don't start squirting WD40 in your stereo equipment though.

After cleaning LOOK at the harness ends. The terminals should look like new. The wires should be crimped and soldered to the terminals. Any exposed copper wire should be covered with heat shrink making them waterproof. What can be seen of the insulated wire should have good colors, be flexible, and not appear cracked, burnt, or previously hacked. If any part of the harness does not pass this inspection, it should be replaced.

If wires are just dirty, the hand cleaner with lanolin works great for me. Get some on a rag and pull each wire thru the rag. Clean them completely. I'm not sure what the hand cleaner might do to the insulation over time. I've cleaned spark plug wires and boots this way for many years with no problems.

Do not forget to inspect battery cables. This is where nothing less than perfect will do. My ground cable turned out to be made up from two pieces with a big lump of tape in the middle and one replacement clamp-on terminal. Absolutely unacceptable. New cables were purchased. How many battery cables have you seen with the insulation pulling out of the terminal exposing copper wire? My new cables were covered with heat shrink at both ends to prevent that.

[Image Battery Cable Done Right]
[Image Battery Cable Done Right]

Is this excessive? Yes it would be, if this was a trailer-queen that will never get wet. For a tractor that will be working in all sorts of weather, weatherproof is absolutely necessary for reliability.

My wiring did not pass inspection. Most of the harness looks pretty good but the engine wiring has been hacked in several places. The coil wire is about 3-feet too long with the extra wire just wadded up near the starter relay. Pulling the entire harness off the tractor is much harder on the Ford 3000 than my N-Tractors. Photos were taken to document where wires were routed and connected. Then I discovered the oil light hack and decided not to go any further for now.

If the entire harness needs to be replaced, more of this tractor is enclosed in sheet metal, with parts of the harness passing through grommets. There are also more wires than on earlier tractors. Rebuilding the original harness might make more sense than replacing. The wires under the tape will often be like new. Wires that are in poor shape, or have been hacked can be replaced one at a time.

Unraveling all that tape is no fun. Use something like loose pieces of Velcro wrap or loose tie wraps to keep the bundles of wires together as the tape comes off. Don't let the harness fall completely apart. When every wire and terminal looks good, the harness should be covered to protect the wires. I prefer to use the split plastic wire loom that is used on modern cars. It's inexpensive, provides more protection than tape, and is much easier to remove.

Memorial Day weekend

[Image Hood Side]
[Image Hood Side]

The Holiday weekend weather was originally forecast to be sunny. Then tropical storm Bonnie was going to come up the coast and rain for several days. We ended up having partly cloudy and warm temps. We have learned not to base any plans on the forecast around here. The hood side panels are fairly straight and the paint is in better shape than it appears in these photos. Half of that surface rust washed off leaving good paint. There was still too much rust not to sand with fine paper, prime, and paint them. These panels are too big for the electrolysis tank, so I used a heat gun and scraper to remove the decals, then sanded them as much as necessary for the new primer to get a good grip. The only cracked/loose paint was where the panels were dented. Those edges were feathered after being straightened.

[Image Dust Shield]
[Image Air Filter]

These are some of the parts removed so none of the crud on them would end up inside the engine. All parts removed were cleaned, sanded, primed, and painted before being reinstalled.

[Image New Manifold]

The exhaust manifold was badly cracked where the vertical pipe fits. It might have been repairable. I've fixed worse, but new manifolds for this engine are only about $40. It makes no sense not to put a new one on it after going to the trouble to remove the old one. Exhaust manifold bolts are always trouble. The long one was rusted solid and snapped off about half way thru the manifold. The manifold would twist far enough to work the gasket out. That created enough clearance to pry the manifold up and snap that bolt off. The stub was not frozen in the threads and screwed right out. The new manifold was installed with studs and brass nuts, mainly because I had a bin full of grade 8 studs the correct length.

[Image Valves]

This engine seemed noisy. All of the Valves were very loose. The spark plugs were removed to make it easier to turn the engine by hand. According to the manual, four valves are adjusted with No.1 piston at top-dead-center, compression stroke (1&3 Intake 1&2 Exhaust). The remaining two valves are adjusted with the engine rotated one full turn to top-dead-center on the No.1, exhaust stroke (2 Intake, 3 Exhaust). The manual for these tractors numbers the valves 1 thru 6 from front to back. I've always seen them called out by Cylinder No. and Intake or Exhaust.

How do we know when the engine is turned to Top Dead Center on No.1 cylinder? The easy way is to trace the No.1 spark plug wire to the distributor cap. Make a mark on the distributor body where the No.1 distributor post is located. Remove the distributor cap, and turn the engine until the rotor button is pointing at the mark you just made. Turn the crankshaft by hand as necessary to align the timing marks at zero. At this point both valves for No.1 cylinder should be closed. The rocker arms should be loose. Adjust No.1&3 Intake, No.1&2 Exhaust valves.

Problem : Adjusting valves on this engine isn't easy. They are very strange. From the toe of the rocker arm the feeler gauge is very loose. Then as the feeler gauge goes in there it suddenly tightens up just about where the back of the valve stem tip should be. There is a slight lip at the back edge of the contact area. Proper clearance adjustment should be the free area between parts that will actually make contact. A bit of masking tape on the two feeler gauges helped to make sure the gauge was going to the right spot on each valve.

On 4-stroke engines the distributor turns 1/2 turn for each full turn of the crankshaft. So one full turn of the crankshaft will point the rotor button 1/2 turn away from No.1 cylinder. Do that, then align timing marks at zero again. Now you can adjust No.2 Intake and No.3 Exhaust valves. Done! Three cylinders is SO much easier than a V8.

[Image Wires]

This is some of the hacked engine wiring. The harness looks pretty good, except for the spliced wire. The real confusion is why the wire that should go to the oil pressure sender is spliced and wrapped around one of the generator terminals with another wire? What's up with that?

[Image Hood Dent]

The nose sheet metal came off without too much trouble. With the air tube already off, remove four bolts, and it pulls right off. Easy access to the radiator hoses was too good to pass up. This is where mission creep starts. Start working on the hood, end up draining the radiator and removing hoses. The lower hose was rubbing on the front of the engine. That will quickly wear a hole in a perfectly good hose. It looked like trimming one end might solve the problem. The solution was much simpler. The hose was on backwards.

More mission creep : It took close to an hour to clean dirt and hay dust clogging most of the holes in the radiator. The brackets that support the top of the nose are round steel bar. These appear to have been pushed back when the damage was done to the nose. It took a combination of improvised tools to bend them back to the correct shape. This was done mostly by just looking at them and removing anything that looked like a non-factory bend.

Fortunately, the dent in the nose is right in front of the air tube opening. It is tempting to start banging sheet metal where damage is light. However, the correct way to reverse crash damage like this is to start at the point of impact. Also, as a general rule, never pound sheet metal without using a dolly on the back side. In this case my arms were too short to work both sides by hand at the same time. The solution was to lay a large flat shop press arbor plate on the floor. Any heavy flat piece of scrap would have worked. Set the damaged nose area on the flat plate. Rock it around to get the point where I would normally hold a dolly sitting on the arbor plate. A piece of 1/2" solid bar was then aligned right on the worst part of the dent, right where two main creases come together. It only took a few whacks to make a big improvement. Continue working the worst areas near the point of impact. Work the hammer and dolly so when the hammer hits a high spot the dolly is on the adjacent high spots on the opposite side of the panel.

[Image Hood Dent]

This is after working on it for about an hour. Creative use of clamps, pliers, and 1/8" pop rivets put the seam back together better than the screw someone had in it. It's a little early for primer and paint. Block sanding thru the blue makes it easier for me to see where this panel needs a few more whacks. I'm already happy with the improvement. Perfect is beyond my current skill level.

[Image Still Painting Outside]

Still painting outside. Bugs were not too bad.

[Image Hood Dent]

Almost ready to go to work.


This is why I don't get too fussy about colors. There are dozens of official "Ford Blue" color codes that might have been used on these tractors. Below are just five of the codes that might have been used for tractors in 1971.

MX700825 or M1639WT8002 or WT8026WT8096 or MX700790
WT8027WT8050Wimbledon White
[Image Rim Locks]

Parts to replace the missing locks on the power adjust rims were not hard to find. Unfortunately, they don't fit very good. More replacement parts from the land of almost fits. I've been soaking the other hardware on these rims in PB Blaster. Hopefully, when I'm ready to install the locks the other hardware will move.

[Image Battery Hold-Down]

This is some universal battery J-bolts. The piece across the top is just a scrap piece of steel rod with a loop bent in each end.

[Image Left Side]
[Image Front Corner]

The hood turned out ok, for the time spent.

The last thing on my list Sunday was to install the plug for my battery maintainer. That should be a simple task. Loosen the clamps and put one ring terminal under the nuts on each terminal clamp. Simple until one end of the positive clamp sheared off as the nut was tightened. It never even got snug. This is a brand new cable! I should know better than to buy replacement parts from the local tractor parts store. The cable is still good. Removing the broken lead terminal was easy enough with a little heat. Replaced with a solid copper marine-grade battery terminal. The terminal I found comes with a solder pellet that is properly sized. Clamp the terminal in a vice, insert pellet, and heat with a torch. When the solder pellet melts, poke the stripped cable end into the solder. Wait a few seconds and remove the torch. Finish the end with a piece of heat shrink. Now it looks like the cable I should have bought to begin with.


[Image Foot Throttle Parts]

This is a photo of a modified foot throttle kit found on ebay. This photo was taken after quite a bit of grinding. These are some of the most poorly made parts I've ever seen, and I've hacked-out some pretty awful stuff over the years. There was no fit or finish of any kind before painting. No mounting hardware, throttle spring, or instructions were provided. The upper bracket that should have threaded onto the throttle rod was the wrong threads (too small). I spent a few minutes removing saw trash, rounding corners, re-drilling, and coming up with proper mounting hardware. Long bolts and two spacers will allow the main bracket to go below the foot board rather than on top as shown in all photos on-line. The two-piece adjustable link provided was too short with the pedal bracket attached below the foot board. A new link, bent from a single length of steel rod, replaced the adjustable link. Measure carefully and all adjustment can be done where the upper bracket attaches to the throttle rod. That upper bracket may have to be rebuilt. The provided bracket interferes with normal hand throttle operation at some throttle settings. The hand throttle should work exactly as it did before. The foot throttle should add the ability to control throttle opening from any hand throttle setting to full throttle.

[Image Foot Throttle Test Fit 1]
[Image Foot Throttle Test Fit 2]

These show the assembled pieces on the tractor. It seems to work. Quite a bit of necessary hardware was missing from this "kit" and it seemed to need a throttle return spring to function correctly. The throttle return spring on this one is currently near the carb, hooked between the choke cable bracket and the throttle bellcrank (right above the choke).

[Image Shift Knobs]

Anybody notice those shiny knobs? I made one earlier to replace the rotten plastic one on the 8N. That is the one on the Left. The two new ones match the big and little knobs on the 3000. These are turned from solid aluminum on a mini lathe, then polished.


The next step should have been to test the new foot throttle, but when I cranked the engine up, the (now correctly wired) oil light stayed on. Remember that wire for the oil pressure sending unit that was attached to the generator? Do you suppose the oil light only appeared to be working normally because someone intentionally hot-wired it to the generator!

[Image - Wiring Possibly Intentionally Hacked]

It is very hard for a Christian to believe there are people in this world who will do things like this and think they are being smart. Maybe it's just a bad sending unit? Time for some tests. If the engine isn't already terminally damaged, removing the spark plugs, will let it crank without compression. Removing the oil sending unit opens the oil gallery. If there is any oil flow at all, it should squirt out that hole when the engine is cranked. Nothing, not even a dribble. Uh Oh! Removed the oil filter and the big cap over the oil pump drive. Crank it again, and the oil pump drive gear is turning. No oil is coming out any of the oil filter or sending unit holes. Uh Oh!

Drain and remove the oil pan. There are twenty two (22) 9/16" bolts around this oil pan. It's 98 degrees in the shade, and 98% humidity. I'm soaking wet, crouched next to the engine, the mosquitoes are biting, and in some strange, twisted way, I'm still having FUN! Even when the pan suddenly comes loose. The sudden weight tips me forward, and I kiss the engine block. Ok, that wasn't fun, but it was funny. Now that the oil pan is off, it looks like the oil pump screen has been hit with something. Nothing else is loose or broken in there. It's time to go clean out the oil pan. The good news is there are no metal bits of any kind in the oil pan, and none in the oil that came out.

[Image Left Side]

The oil pan does appear to have been dented and hammered out from the inside. One mystery solved. Once upon a time something hit the oil pan and dented it far enough to whack the oil pump fairly hard. I've already ordered a new oil pump.

[Image Left Side]

Remove the oil pump and the rest of the story becomes more clear. The oil pump drive hex is worn almost completely round. This would explain the lack of oil flow. The pump wasn't turning. The upper pump drive shaft hex was almost as bad. Add upper and intermediate drive shaft parts to what has already been ordered. It will take a few days for parts to be delivered. Bugs will start nesting in the engine if any holes are left open. To prevent that, two bolts hold the oil pan in place, then screw the oil filter, sending unit, and spark plugs in to plug those holes.

The new parts arrived during the following work week. This weekend is no cooler than the last one, but I do have a new can of bug spray. The oil pump did not come with a gasket. I keep an assortment of gasket paper handy, so it was easy enough to bang one out with a ball peen hammer. It won't do much good to install a new oil pump if the engine is already damaged. The right way to check the crank and bearings is with Plastigauge. Remove one cap and bearing half. Place a strip of Plastigauge across the bearing surface. Reinstall and torque the bearing cap. Remove the cap and bearing half again and compare the flattened strip of Plastigauge to the chart on the package. The wider it gets, the tighter the bearing clearance is. Tight is good, loose is bad. Clean off the Plastigauge residue and apply assembly lube to the bearing face before reinstalling and torquing. Now do the next one. This takes time, but it's the only way to do it right. Watch for any bearings that are a different color or appear to have spun in the caps. Any bearings that look bad will have to be replaced. It is possible to hone light score marks out of one or two crank journals with the crank still in the engine. Bearings must be replaced with the correct oversize to match the honed journal. My main and rod bearings checked out at 0.003" to 0.0035" and they all looked very good. Maximum bearing clearance specification for rods and mains in this engine is 0.004". They may be a little loose, but anything within spec should be good to go. Quite frankly, I am very surprised to find no wiped bearings.

Install the oil pump and intermediate drive shaft with a gasket and two bolts. Install the oil pan, tighten drain plug and fill with oil. Install the upper drive shaft from the top. Then reinstall the pump drive shaft cap. Rather than simply replace the oil pressure sending unit, I installed a Tee fitting so this engine can have an oil pressure gauge and a sending unit. The gauge and sending unit have already been installed, so I left the oil filter off for a test. Spark plugs are out. Hold a bucket in front of the oil filter holes and crank the engine. WOW! After just a few turns at least a pint of oil hit the bottom of the bucket! Replaced the oil filter, and crank it again until the oil light goes off and the gauge shows oil pressure. Success! Lots of oil pressure! Reinstall the spark plugs, turn on the gas, and fire it up! The oil light went out almost immediately, and the oil gauge is showing over 70 pounds of pressure!

[Image After Test Drive]
[Image Oil Pressure]

After a short ride, the engine is running in this photo. The close up shows my oil gauge on the engine with 60 PSI.

[Image Tee Fitting]

Here's another photo of the oil sending unit and gauge using a Tee fitting. The plan is to eventually relocate the gauge where I can see it from the seat. I'd rather do that without hacking a big hole in the dash I just painted. The engine still seems a little noisy. Carb needs to be cleaned. I hope it's going to be ok for a while.

[Image Tee Fitting for Vacuum]

This is another Tee fitting added to the vacuum port on the intake manifold. The distributor vacuum will be hooked back up. The new manifold vacuum connection is for a PCV hose. I'm doing away with the road draft tube in favor of a PCV valve and valve cover vent.

[Image With Blade]

Hooked up a blade after work today. The engine is running well, pulls good, and seems to be making the normal amount of noise. Unfortunately, get it up to operating temperature and it starts making clouds of blue smoke.

[Image PCV Hose]

The PCV system is hooked up. The new vacuum hose can be seen better in this photo. This has likely leaned-out the carb adjustment slightly but not enough to need immediate attention. Put "adjust carb" on my list for next weekend.

[Image Tee Fitting]
[Image Tee Fitting]

It's been a few weeks. Headlight wiring has been replaced. A mess of switches and wiring under the dash has been removed. The original harness now appears fine. The mess was mostly newer stuff that was added. My new light circuits are taped up until a set of tail lights and worklight have been mounted. We graded the driveway last weekend and worked it a little harder this weekend. The engine still smokes when worked hard. Thinking it might have something to do with my PCV system but the engine basically smokes like a train even with the PCV disconnected. The main and rod bearings are fine, so there is no need to rebuild the bottom end. A compression check will tell me if the rings are shot.

I'm a little disgusted with this tractor. Mostly with the previous owner and dealer who passed it on to me knowing it had issues. Took the 8N out to run the cutter over the trails. That old and familiar feeling came back. The rounded N-Tractor hood is a lot easier to see around when dodging trees. These old N-tractors just fire-up and go to work. I'll probably let the 3000 sit for a few weeks and try to make some progress on the V8-8N project.


Content and Web Design by K. LaRue — This Site Was Last Updated 31 MAR 2017.

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