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Tractor questions are always welcome. Some of the most frequently asked ones are listed at the bottom of this page.
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Q1 I just recently purchased the home and this beautiful tractor came with it I believe it is a 1945 2N serial number 9N I?70364. I would like to know if I'm correct that it's a 1945? Also any idea of value?
A That is serial 9N 170364.
The font used some letters in place of certain numbers. We are not sure exactly why this was done, perhaps to make it more difficult to change the serial number. Anyway, that is definitely a 2N tractor that was built in January of 1945. Looks like the previous owner must have been very tall. Blocks of wood raising the seat are not original. I'm not sure what the cardboard under the oil filter might be for. That tractor has an auxiliary transmission, most likely an overdrive. The left hand shift lever near the starter operates the auxiliary trans. The front hubs have been changed to the smaller 8N style. Rims are easier to find for those than for the much larger 9N / 2N hubs. Original color for the entire tractor was dark gray, but many have been repainted 8N colors. That is how I painted mine. Value is hard to say. It varies quite a bit across the country. The new paint job can bring as much as $1000 more than it's really worth. The tires look nearly new, that's a big plus. (I've seen tractors like that one that sold as high as $3500 (usually with an implement or two thrown in). Actual value for that tractor I'd put at around $2250. In central Virginia, I'd advertise it for $3500 and see what I could get. The problem is for the same $3500 price you can buy a lot more tractor, like a mid-70's Ford 3000 that will have more horsepower, live hydraulics, double clutch, etc.
Q1 My serial # appears to be *8N571--*. I thought maybe the 7 could be 2.
A That serial number with either 57 or 52 would still be an early 8N built fairly early in 1948 around Feb - March.
Q2 I can't seem to find any way to buy a live hydraulic system. Do you have a phone number I can call to order one?
A I do not have phone numbers for either of the two guys who used to have pre-packaged "kits" to add live hydraulics to Ford 9N, 2N, and 8N tractors. The original live hydraulics kits for these old Ford tractors were invented by Zane Sherman in Talledega, Alabama. It's been more than two years since Zane announced he was no longer selling live hydraulics kits, but there are rumors he still occasionally sells one of his kits. A more modern setup for the front distributor engines was later created and sold by Dan Allen (The Old Hokie). His web site is easy to find by just searching for Hokie Hydraulics or Windy Ridge farm. Unfortunately the ordering information part of Dan's web site got shut down when Verizon stopped hosting web sites. Dan was going to rebuild his site on a different hosting service, but I don't think he ever got it done. Dan Allen has an awesome machine shop and can turn out very well built parts. When I last traded messages with him he was working on a universal front pump setup that would fit behind the grill and work on any of the Ford 9N, 2N, 8N tractors. His prototype was by far the cleanest, most original-looking external pump setup I have seen for these tractors. I do not know if Dan ever got that pump into production to sell.
I could put together a basic Live Hydraulics kit with a mounting bracket, pump, pulley, hoses, fittings, hose hangers, and a longer fan belt. That is everything needed to add Live Hydraulics. It would cost around $650.00 for me to assemble and ship a complete bolt-on kit to a continental USA address.
Q3 A new owner was concerned about the "weed Burner" exhaust when using a brush hog in tall grass. What about installing a modified vertical exhaust that won't catch tree limbs or get in the way putting a tarp over the tractor? What if the vertical exhaust was bent to run horizontal, along the bottom edge of the hood, forward and turn outward at the front of the hood?
A My concerns with keeping the exhaust low with the outlet near the front would be heat and fumes. The exhaust does not leave the pipe with a lot of speed, so it tends to make a cloud not far from the end of the pipe. The radiator fan is pulling lots of air from the front of the tractor, and blowing it straight back on the operator.
Both of my tractors have the aftermarket pipe that turns straight up. I cut some length off and I'm using the shortest mufflers I could find. The top of the pipe is now no higher than my head. Hot exhaust does rise, so with the outlet above my head, most of it stays above my head no matter which way the wind is blowing. I tried a small tip that directed the exhaust to the side, It didn't seem to make any difference so I'm using the small flapper that keeps water out of the pipe. It does make a difference to turn the flapper so the hinge is towards the back. Any low branches that might catch the pipe, would also hit my head, so they have been trimmed. That has solved the low branch problem for me.
Q4 What is the little knob under the seat for?
A The knob you are asking about switches your 3-point lift from Draft Control to Position Control. Move the lever DOWN for DRAFT CONTROL for PLOWING. Move the lever UP for POSITION CONTROL for any implement that simply rides on or above the ground. Please get a copy of the Owner's Manual and the I&T FO-4 shop manual. These are available cheap, and there is a lot of information in these books that you will need.
Q5 My top link connection has three holes. Which one should I use?
A The bottom one, most of the time. Most N-Tractors will only have one place on the rocker to connect the top link to the tractor (no confusion with those). Near the end of 1949, the top link rocker was changed from the single hole to a three hole design. The new rocker provides two additional connection points that are both higher than the original connection. Always use the lowest position for plowing. Use the higher mounting points only when a light ground engaging implement does not provide enough feedback to the draft control mechanism. This should only be the case with something like a cultivator in loose soil that you have worked several times. Be careful! If the implement should hit an obstruction, the higher mounting points allow a LOT more force on the spring and lift control mechanism. You are MUCH more likely to break something.
Q6 I had a resistor go out on my 8N that was converted when I bought it. The lights used to be bright and now they are not since replacing it. The problem is that everywhere I check with my voltmeter and I am getting 6 volts coming out from every point I check. Is there anything you can tell me that might help me out? It is wired so you can cut the lights on even with the tractor off.
A Sounds like your resistor is wired ahead of everything. The resistor should just be in the wire going to the coil.
Q7 How does the Draft Control work?
A Draft control is for plowing and a few other "Ground Engaging" implements. If the implement does not dig into the ground, move the small lever UP and use Position Control. The correct way to operate the lift when you are plowing is to move the small Draft Control Lever down to the Draft Control position. Slowly push the Touch Control Lever down until the plow just begins to drop and STOP moving the Touch Control Lever. Start moving forward and let the plow work. The plow should go into the ground a little and continue running at that depth. Continue to push the Touch Control Lever down in tiny increments until the plow is running at the depth you want to use. Loosen the wing nut and move the Touch Control Lever stop to mark this position on the quadrant. Now, every time you lower the Touch Control Lever to the stop, the plow will run at the same depth for every pass through the field.
Draft control is the hands-free way to plow. When the plow hits denser soil, the additional resistance would normally cause the tractor tires to slip. Without draft control, the operator would have to manually raise the plow slightly to keep the tractor moving forward. Draft control constantly varies plow depth in small amounts so there is minimal wheel spin. The operator can now concentrate on just driving straight furrows.
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