Some parts have already been powder-coated or primed and painted. Most of the tractor will not be refinished until after fabrication is complete. The plan is to get it rolling, fired-up, and run it a bit. Maybe that way the worst leaks, and design flaws can be fixed before everything has a nice new finish. Then again, this project might look so cool in rat-rod condition, it could stay that way. We will see.
The original 8N engine block and cast iron oil pan are also the frame of the tractor. The V8 engine block already had four threaded holes in the front that were used to attach the bracket for the axle carrier. but additional support is required to keep the axle from twisting and breaking loose. A sub frame is required to connect the lower part of the transmission to the axle carrier.
Two pieces of 1-1/2" square 1/4" thick heavy tubing were used for the frame rails. These may be a bit of overkill, but weight isn't an issue for a tractor, heavier is usually better. The front corners were mitered to make a "U" shaped frame that will attach behind the front axle support. Short mounting tabs were cut from 1-1/2" x 1/4" flat bar. Holes were drilled to match up with radiator support and transmission bolts before welding the tabs to the frame. 7/16" UNF hex nuts were welded to the back side of the front tab so there will be no need to hold those with a wrench. It is usually better if hardware on the back side of anything is captive.
Everything was tack-welded then bolted in place to check the fit and dimensions. After welding the fit was checked again to make sure nothing warped. Then the entire assembly was cleaned, primed, and painted.
Snazzy! The intent was to make this easy to remove if I ever need to get to take the oil pan off.
This project has basically been ready for a test drive for months. I really wanted to take it for a ride last summer, but filling with fluids would have created problems unless everything was drained and put back in long-term storage condition. That was more hassle than a short drive was worth. I still have no idea how the project should be finished-off. To be honest, the real hang-up is a fear of doing a really horrible job on the body and fender work. I can be really precice and detailed when it comes to mechanical systems, but body and fender work is an art. I did not get any of the artistic genes that might be in our family. I've been hoping to swap some repair work for body work, but none of my friends has blownup anything.
The old mismatched tires are back on, so it could come off the jack stands and be rolled out of the shop for some photos.
It may be time to pass this project on to someone with the talent to finish it properly. I've certainly gotten plenty of quality shop time figuring out how to get everything hooked-up, plumbed, and wired. It even has live hydraulics! My original concept was, "If Ford actually built one, is this what it would have been?" Stretching the hood a bit and keeping the fuel tank close to the original location seemed better than some of the other conversions I've seen. Other Details such using the original 8N battery tray, start button, air filter, throttle, and choke controls were very important to me. Yes, the tilt hood is a slip away from original, but a tilt hood was something that Harry Ferguson wanted badly and it solved several issues for me. The latch for the original battery/fuel door did become the latch for the tilt hood. I'm happy with the way this has turned out.
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