|TABLE OF CONTENTS|
|2||Small Upgrades and Repairs|
|3||Serious Engine Work|
Most people didn't know anything was missing. The original steering gear covers only appear in a few photos of these tractors. They are hard to find. Nobody is making replacements, and many owners never bothered to reinstall them. They are a bit of a pain to install. Turning the steering left and right helps to find clearance to install each piece. It is very easy to short the positive battery cable when installing the right front piece. I managed to finagle it into place without removing the battery cable, but I strongly recommend disconnecting the battery ground cable. Removing the transmission fill cap is the main trick to installing the right rear piece. The two left side pieces were much easier for some reason.
My one-piece foot throttle link rod was made before I was aware the covers existed. The left cover has a slot for the neutral safety wire. It might have been ok to add a similar slot to the right side for the foot throttle rod. However, making a new link rod avoided having to cut the cover. The throttle pedal assembly was moved forward to the next set of holes in the footboard.
One of my favorite modifications is to add a second leveling box on the left side. This provides twice as much adjustment to the lift arms, as well as making it more convenient hooking up implements.
This set was for sale cheap, mostly because they were both completely frozen. The reason this leveling box was locked-up is the pressed-in cap was missing. I often take a chance on experienced parts that need fixing when the price is right.
They were certainly locked up. I sprayed some PB Blaster in the fixed link and hung it upside down on the wall in the shop. Let the PB Blaster chemicals work on it a while. The leveling box was hung in my electrolysis tank for several hours. That process is mostly line-of-sight from the part to the sacrificial metal. So it does a good job on the outside of parts. The inside is basically just soaking in the tank, but that does seem to help loosen rusty parts. That may be mostly wishful thinking, but at least the electrolysis process removes most of the grease, dirt, rust, and loose paint from the outside.
After electrolysis, then soaking the bottom threaded part in PB Blaster for a few hours, the bottom part loosened up and could be unscrewed. Unfortunately, a large portion of the threaded shaft is so worn out it is not usable. The threads have rusted, and are too short to engage properly. The crank gears were starting to come loose, but still mostly locked-up. Knock the roll pin out, remove the bushing/gear piece, then just pull the handle out. Once the handle is out of the way, the shaft assembly can be knocked out of the upper housing. After a thorough cleaning, the two gears were in amazingly good shape. Rather than spend money on new parts, I will replace the threaded portion of the shaft with a piece of threaded rod.
The worn-out threads have been cut off, and a piece of threaded-rod was cut to length to replace it. Both matching ends have been chamfered to provide good weld penetration, and both pieces were center-drilled and tapped for a short piece of threaded rod that will add strength.
This is the two pieces assembled and ready for welding.
After welding, grinding, and assembly.
Now we need a new cap. A freeze plug might work, but I didn't have any the right size. The cap on my other leveling boxes appears to be a press-fit piece of sheet metal. One of my hole saws cut a plug just slightly too large. The pilot bit was removed, and a piece of scrap was clamped to my drill press. The plug was then carefully ground to exactly press-fit into the leveling box housing.
Bumpers were one of several available dealer-installed options for the N-tractors. I suspect that was still the case in 1971. This bumper is different from other bumpers I've seen on any of the old Ford tractors. By 1971 there were many aftermarket sources for accessories to fit the various Ford tractors. There are no markings on this bumper to indicate where it was made, but it definitely appears to be factory-made rather than a one-of-a-kind original. The top bar and supports have been torched off. The bottom bar is badly bent. The add-on pintle hook brackets were very solidly welded. It was fun grinding those welds to remove the brackets. The bent bar was straightened using a length of heavy chain, a floor jack, and wooden blocks.
Many bumpers have had pieces removed for one reason or another. This bumper has curved bars. That smooth curve could be a challenge to duplicate.
Buy more tools. This is a modified Harbor Freight tubing bender. The wing extensions are from SWAG Off Road. The base is another HF item.
A set of flat rollers quickly put a smooth bend in a piece of 1-1/2" flat bar.
The sharp curve at each end was done on the shop press. It took more than one shot at each end to make that curve look right.
Trim the ends with a saw and grind the round profile to match other bars. All that remains is to weld on some 3/8" x 1-1/2" scrap to extend the supports and attach the new top bar.
This saga continues with some SERIOUS ENGINE WORK.
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