|TABLE OF CONTENTS|
|2||More Repairs and Upgrades|
|3||Serious Engine Work|
|4||To ROPS or Not To ROPS|
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 cut from a grade 5 bolt.
This is the two pieces assembled and ready for welding. A recessed area has been ground so most of the weld will remain after the part has been ground smooth.
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 box appears to be a press-fit piece of sheet metal. One of my hole saws was just slightly too large. The pilot bit was removed, and a piece of scrap was clamped to my drill press. The cut plug was then carefully ground around the edge until it would exactly press-fit into the leveling box housing. This fits tight-enough that no additional sealer is required. Normal primer and paint should be enough to keep moisture and dirt out. If there is any question, a little JB Weld could be mixed and put around the edge.
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.
Unfortunately, after the engine work in the next chapter, when it came time to install the bumper, it did not fit. This big dummy removed the bumper without realizing how bad it fit. Going back to the first few photos, it was obvious that the top rail of this bumper was removed just to be able to bolt it on this tractor. Even with that modification, the bumper was sawing on the sheet metal every time the axle pivoted. All of the clues were there, I just didn't look or measure anything. This bumper was most likely made to fit a pre 1965 Thousand Series tractor that still had the rounded front sheet metal. Oh Well, this nice bumper is another spare part looking for a project it will fit.
The engine work in the next chapter required taking everything in front of the transmission completely apart. Nothing gets put back together around here without being cleaned and maybe re-finished. Painting the transmission and rear axle was a quick scrape and spray job, when I put more paint than needed in the sprayer.
The one-piece plastic top grill was replaced with the aluminum version that was used prior to 1971. After a failed attempt to bend a new wiring "tube", a piece of flexible metal wire loom was used. The chrome headlights were purchased from Harbor Freight for around $5 each. They are the correct size and shape, but come with an external wiring tube, and a strange double band around the lens. The Ford hollow headlight bolt fit thru them with a little effort, so the wiring can be concealed, a nickle chrome hole plug was used to cover the hole in the housing. The gasket was cut down so a single band could be used to secure the lens. The tail lights are some square LED trailer lights that were kicking around the shop. Tail light housings were painted blue, and fender brackets were fabricobbled to fit the existing holes in the fenders. The work light is a fairly common round rubber version. It's a little weathered, but it works.
The rims and fenders need to be refinished next. The rear rims are completely rotten around the valve stem, as usually happens with calcium chloride fill. The valve stems are also rotten, so draining them to completely clean and repair the rims will be difficult. New tubes will be needed. If any fill goes back in these tires, it will be someting less corrosive, like windshield washer fluid. That will be giving up some weight, but there is not much need for maximum ballast for the chores we do.
Some of the rubber and plastic under the hood was cleaned and refreshed using my secret weapon. Lanolin hand cleaner cuts the crud and restores hardened rubber to look like new. I'd use lanolin on tires except the tire foam stuff is so much easier to use. Radiator hoses and steering wheel are new. The steering hub and shift knobs are polished billet aluminum turnings that were done on my small lathe.
This replaced the rotten original style muffler. The flapper and hinge was cut and hammered out of some stainless steel scrap. It's a little loud.
The resonator muffler proved to be too loud. "
Anybody see the special decal?
This is a link to the step-by-step SERIOUS ENGINE WORK. Complete disassembly of everything in front of the transmission provided the opportunity to do a much better job cleaning and painting. This tractor is a beast! It runs great with plenty of power.
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