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STEP-BY-STEP REPAIRS TO MY 1946 FORD 2N TRACTOR

[Photo of 2N Tractor as found]
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTERDESCRIPTION
1 HOOD, FRONT AXLE, RADIUS RODS
2 TOP COVERS AND STEERING
3 FRONT SPLIT
4 SMALL PARTS
5 PAINTING
6 LIGHTS - TEST DRIVE - ODDS and ENDS

CHAPTER 1 - HOOD, FRONT AXLE, RADIUS RODS

Soon after getting this tractor home it became apparent I was starting this project at the wrong time of the year. The days are getting shorter, and nights cooler. That is going to leave me with less shop time than working in the summer. Also, since the 52 is running good, there is no need to rush this project. I can take more time with it and maybe do a better job.

This is the list of obvious repairs needed before mission creep starts: Radiator Leaking, Grille Flattened, Hood Bent, Headlights Rotten and Wrong Type, Alternator Not Charging, Bad Wiring, Steering Loose, Front Axle Loose, Carb Linkage Bent, Engine Oil Leaks, Neutral Interlock Broken, Footboard Bent, Radius Rods Bent, Shifter Loose, 3-Point Upper Arm Bushings Bad, Leveling Box Bent, Lower Lift Arms Sloppy Welds, No Taillights or Wiring, Rusty 8N Fenders.

Removing The Hood–02 NOV 2009

[Photo using sling and hoist to lift hood off tractor]

This radiator is leaking, the "new" radiator is a used original. Stay away from the "Made in China" replacement radiators, they often don't fit properly. The leaky radiator will go to the radiator shop to hopefully be repaired and become a spare.

The Seat on a 2N does not flip up like the 8N seat. This is where originality may lose, I really like that feature, it keeps the cats from nesting on my seat. I found a good 8N flip seat pan, and made a bracket from a piece of scrap steel 3" x 1/4" x 12". It bolts to and extends the 2N seat spring, so I can mount the 8N style flip seat on it. I used two bolts but can make this seat swivel by removing one bolt and putting a fender washer between the two brackets.

The hood and grille were flattened in front. Some folks might be looking for replacements, but I think these can be saved. It's also more fun to fix them.

[Photo of bent grille in shop press]

This is the grille being reformed using my shop press.

BIG SNOW!–DEC 2009

We got 20 inches of snow in December! This is Virginia, we don't get 20 inches of snow from one storm, ever! Plowed snow with the 52 every day for three days just trying to keep up with the snowfall.

[Photo of angle iron brace added to hood]

Jacking the hood back out was easy, getting it to stay out was not. There is probably some sheetmetal repair trick that would relieve the tension and make it stay out. I bent and welded a piece of 1" steel angle, fitted it inside the lip, and riveted it to the flange. Another issue was rust. Two small spots on the left side near the dash have rusted through. This is an odd spot for rust, right in the middle of the panel, but the battery is nearby, and there is a reinforcing rib welded to the back in this location. Moisture and battery acid is a bad combination. Bondo is my least favorite material for sheet metal body work. Welding-in new steel is the best repair. For this small area, I decided to use JB Weld. I sanded to bare metal on both sides and used a picking hammer to slightly recess the area around each rust-through. Mixed up a small batch of JB Weld, and applied it to both sides of the area. The idea is to help the stuff stick to the metal, push it through the hole and spread it out on both sides. Use the smallest amount possible to minimize the amount of sanding necessary. The repair looks good, no more rust holes.

Front Axle Bushing and Radius Rods–25 DEC 2009

This was a good shop day. Spent Christmas morning with my Wife, opening presents, having breakfast, and then went out to play with some of my new presents. It was one of those good shop days where I accomplished a lot.

I spent the first hour trying to remove the center pin from the front axle. Tried my slide hammer, a gear puller, and a cold chisel, with no success. Decided to remove the front axle support. Removed the outer axle halves and pulled them out of the way, then removed the six nuts and bolts holding the front support to the oil pan. It came off with the axle center section. Once I had it on the floor, face down, it was a piece of cake to drive the axle pin out and install the new bushing and spacers. Next time I will save some time and aggravation, and just remove the axle before attempting to remove the bushing.

I shouldn't tell on myself, but I got turned around and installed the axle center section into the carrier upside down. Didn't realize it was wrong until I was ready to bolt it to the front of the engine, OOPS! Had to stop and redo that. It comes apart much easier the second time, grin. I put masking tape on both parts labeled UP and DOWN to prevent another goof up. Should have done that the first time.

[Photo of bent radius rods]

Here are the Radius Rods. Both are bent, one is a little worse than the other. This is probably an average pair.

[Photo of radius rod in shop press]

Here is one radius rod set up on my shop press to push the bend out. A floor jack and piece of heavy chain will also work. I've done that, but you need to use a REALLY heavy piece of chain. The radius rods do have some spring-back so the trick is to go slightly past straight, without getting carried away, and putting a kink in the hollow tube. I am using a piece of 1/4" scrap in the middle to spread the load from the jack. The outer points are sitting on 7/8" steel dowels. I set up like this in three or four places along the bent part of each radius rod. I check them with a straightedge each time I release pressure to see how things are going.

[Photo showing both radius rods after straightening]

Here they are after straightening. It only takes about 10 minutes to do one. This time it took longer to remove and reinstall them than it took to straighten them.

[Photo of axle reinstalled]

Here's the tractor with the front axle back together, still need to reinstall the radius rods.

Next Chapter 2 - TOP COVERS AND STEERING

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