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1 As Found
2 More Repairs and Upgrades
3 Serious Engine Work
4 To ROPS or Not To ROPS

1971 FORD 3000 TRACTOR


[Image Tractor Shed]

The 3000 was supposed to take over most of the chores, but has not gotten much use since I bought it. The engine has been making too much noise for me to get comfortable working it very hard or very much. As seen in this photo the 2N and 8N have continued to be my workers. The solution is to pull the 3000 apart, figure out what it needs, and either fix it or part it out.

It took a few weekends to clear a spot in the shed to do engine work. The V8 project is almost ready for a test drive. The only thing holding that up is the endless list of other things that need fixin'.

[Image Ready to Start Work]
[Image Ready to Start Work]

The 3000 is parked at the shed. Wish I had room to get it completely inside to do the split, but that ain't happenin' any time soon. It will be supported under the tranny, with both rear tires chocked front and back. There is an incentive to work fast. The hood, cowl, radiator, and front axle have to come off before the doors will close on the shed.


Major repairs should never be attempted without referring to a service manual. Long before starting to turn wrenches, read thru the entire process more than once. Become comfortable with the steps required. If there is any question regarding any part of the work, research that separately. Make sure any special tools needed are available or perhaps aren't actually needed. In this case, some of the special tools mentioned in the manual have not been available for many years. Creative solutions may be required.

The Ford Tractor Service Manual shows a typical front split (engine/tranny) and a rear split (tranny/diff). This will be a modified front split. It looks like the only reason to ever do a front split (the way it is shown in the manual) is if the only thing needing service is the clutch/flywheel. It should be much easier to remove those large bolts in the front axle carrier while the tractor is mostly in one piece. Removing pieces one-at-a-time makes it easier to clean and decide what needs repair, replacement, or only cleaning and painting.

Completely drain cooling system and engine oil.

Unless you have already worked on tractors larger than the N-Series, more (bigger) tools are probably going to be required:
1 - A 4-foot piece of 1-1/2" heavy wall pipe. This will be an extension handle for your breaker bar.
2 - Large sockets and combination wrenches in sizes from 15/16" to 1-1/4".
3 - If your socket set is too small or will not survive using a 4-foot handle, get some good quality 3/4" drive sockets.
4 - A high-torque impact wrench and impact sockets to 1-1/4".
5 - An engine hoist or overhead winch.
6 - Engine stand rated 1500 pounds, with brackets that will reach the mounting holes on this engine. Even better is an adapter that mounts to holes at front and back of one side of the engine. With one side of the engine close to the post, the engine stand will be much more stable. I've seen several examples on-line. It would have been better to do that than buying the adapters I used.

Hardware and small parts:

All nuts, bolts, and small parts should be inspected, sorted, and stored as they are removed. Identify damaged fasteners and parts that will need to be replaced. Take pictures of everything as it is taken apart. Plastic containers in various sizes work great. Get at least one platic box with dividers that can be rearranged to provide individual bins of various sizes. If the larger containers have screw-on lids, the lid can be attached under a shelf or workbench to keep them off the floor. Switch to a new container, when switching to a new sub-assembly. While other work continues, buy and store new hardware matched-up with the broken/rusty stuff that came off.

Plan on every step of this job taking longer than expected. In this case, both front radius rod bolts were completely frozen where they went thru the axle. The bolts holding the outer axles to the center section were very difficult to remove. All of the hardware on this tractor is at least an order of magnitude larger than anything on the N-Tractors. My HF 3/4" drive socket set did not survive the more intensive use.


[Image Radiator Front]

The radiator is attached with two captive carriage bolts (just like the N-Tractor radiator). Unfortunately (just like the N-Tractors) the bolts were completely rusty, and only loosened about 1/2 turn before spinning. I wedged a pry-bar to try and hold the square in the slot. That only got another half-turn or so. That was just loose enough to get a sawsall blade in there. Add new radiator bolts and rubber pads to the list of parts needed. The radiator looks great from the front. It should, I spent about an hour cleaning and straightening fins when I got this tractor. Unfortunately, the back side has a deep circle where a fan blade cut into it. Surprise! Someone tried to solder the radiator tubes. I've never seen that work very well. This one has been leaking. Add re-core radiator to the list.

[Image Radiator Back]

Frequently check the support under the tractor. Cinder blocks are useless, wooden timbers are better, a jack stand is best. This driveway area is packed like concrete, but even hard packed gravel is not a completely stable surface. We have been having lots of rain, so it may have loosened the dirt and gravel. There used to be a 12" square piece of 1/4" steel plate around here that could be tossed under a jack stand. That was MIA, so my big floor jack was used to back-up the jack stand.

Minor Deviations and Additions to the Service Manual:

Pre-clean everything as areas become accessible. Keeping an air hose handy to blow dirt and debris away helps keep that stuff from getting inside the engine. The steering drag links were taken loose at the front, then swung up and over to lay on the rear axle. Radius rods were completely removed. The front tires and outer axle assemblies were unbolted from the center section. Then the axle carrier was unbolted from the front of the engine.

[Image Front Axle Support]

Unbolting the axle carrier was not easy. Darn glad I did not do the split, and then try to take this apart. The front axle support is very similar to the same part on the N-tractors, just a lot heavier. It is attached to the engine with four large nuts and bolts. These were not rusty, but must have been tightened to about a million foot-pounds. All the bolts on this tractor are laughing at my 1/2" drive impact wrench. Even at 110 psi it falls way short of having enough torque to break this stuff loose. A 4-foot piece of pipe on a breaker bar should have worked, but the first attempt completely destroyed my HF 3/4" drive, 6-point, 1-1/8" socket. I've occasionally managed to crack smaller sockets, this one exploded.

The only other 1-1/8" socket in my tool chest was the old Craftsman thin-wall, 12-point, 1/2" drive, that was being used to hold the bolt when the HF socket exploded. The neighbor saw me scratching my head, and came over to see what I was up to. He went back and returned with a 1-1/8" box end wrench. We both expected the thinner 12-point socket to fail. Just to prove me wrong, all four nuts came loose without breaking anything else. The axle pivot bushing is loose and needs to be rebuilt. Add that to the list. Breaking one socket is all the excuse needed to buy some better quality sockets. The engine should have been on the stand by now. At least removing the axle support was enough to allow the shop doors to close.

Engine Accessories:

[Image Stripping Engine Accessories]

It may appear that there are only a few things left before the engine can be pulled. That is misleading. Those few things continued to take more time and effort than expected. In order to prevent damage, always remove wiring, carburetor, and fuel lines before removing an engine. The fuel lines on this tractor are a nightmare. Tank to fuel pump is threaded thru everything from the back to the front of the engine. Fuel pump to fuel filter is worse. That one apparently has to be laid in place as the manifold is bolted on. Using flare-nut type wrenches on every hex nut will usually allow fuel lines to be removed without damaging the tubing or fittings. These came off in good shape. They can be cleaned-up painted, and re-used. Small bolts that support the rear hood and fuel tank have loose nuts on the back. Fishing a 1/2" wrench in there to hold those nuts was fun. The larger bolts that secure the battery tray assembly to the back of the engine were also very difficult to remove.

Hydraulic Pump:

This tractor does not have anything like the "external hydraulic manifold" described in the service manual. Remove four bolts that attach the hydraulic pump to the engine. Remove one clamp bracket that holds one hydraulic pipe to the top of the transmission. This allows the pump to be pulled up and tied out of the way. This should provide just enough room to get a socket on the two top bolts attaching the engine to the transmission. For some reason, these are a larger size than the hardware used for the four engine-to-transmission nuts and bolts. Break them loose, then switch to a wrench before the socket becomes trapped.

Set-Up Engine Crane:

Finally, it is time to get the lift in place and attach it to the engine. As the engine-to-transmission bolts are loosened, check that the engine weight is supported, level, and not twisting. Remove the nuts and any washers. Leave the bolts in place. Pry the engine forward about 1/2" to release the dowel pins that align the engine and transmission. Make sure the engine-to-transmission bolts stay loose in the holes. Correct any misalignment between the engine and transmission. Keeping the bolts in place, helps guide the clutches straight-off the transmission input shaft without binding. Pulling the engine is not nearly as hard as aligning those splines when it is going back together.

Engine Ready to go on the Stand:

[Image Engine on Hook]

The engine is off, and in the shop. This "little" 3-cylinder is VERY HEAVY. I've installed complete automotive V8 engine/transmission assemblies that did not weigh as much as this engine. The double-clutch assembly and flywheel will have to be removed. The shop manual mentions several special clutch tools that I could not find decent pictures of. Browsing the various forums on-line I was able to verify that the clutch release levers can be tied down with safety wire. Then the clutch assembly can be unbolted from the flywheel. As long as the assembly does not need to be serviced, no special tools are needed. All I will need is a pilot alignment tool to reassemble the clutch on the flywheel.

[Image Tied Down Clutch Levers]

Safety wire looped thru the clutch assembly and over each release lever worked fine. Pull the wire tight on each lever before moving to the next one. Then run another piece of wire in the opposite direction. One is good, two is insurance. Lower the engine and put wooden blocks under the corners before removing clutch assembly bolts. Find some way to support the clutch assembly while it is being removed. Same for the flywheel. You do not want the clutch or flywheel to smash your foot. After removing the clutch and flywheel it occurred to me that there needs to be a plan for reinstalling those. It was all I could do to wrestle them safely to the floor. Check the starter and ring gear teeth. If they look bad, now is the time to replace those. Mine looked mostly good. There is one place about 3" long where the teeth have been chewed a little. Minor damage can be fixed with a file or small grinder.

Problem: Four 5/8" Grade 5 bolts the correct length were set aside, ready to bolt this engine to my stand. I even made sure the 5/8" bolts would fit thru the brackets on my engine stand. Unfortunately the brackets on my "universal" engine stand would not spread wide enough to line up with the holes in this engine. They are about 1/2" short. My other engine stand is much lighter, but the engine plate and brackets are made to exactly the same dimensions. None of the brackets I have will match up to this engine. Bummer.

[Image Engine Stand Adapters]

These engine stand adapters came from Merrick. They are made longer than the brackets that came with my engine stands, but they only accept 1/2" hardware. A set of grade 5 bolts, 5-1/2" long were used to attach the engine to the stand. Try to get the engine mounted low enough on the stand that it will be mostly balanced when turned over. This engine was mounted as low as it would go, and was still way too top-heavy. The cylinder head will have to come off before trying to rotate it. This little 3-cylinder is a very heavy casting with thick webbing. The engine crane will remain hooked to the cylinder head, to provide some support and to lift the cylinder head off.


Follow the instructions in the manual, and take lots of pictures. Keep sorting/labeling hardware as it comes off. Rotate engine to Top-Dead-Center on No.1 (front) cylinder. Remove distributor cap, and mark location of rotor on distributor housing, mark position of distributor on engine. Take more photos. Pay careful attention to where the vacuum advance is located. I missed that detail and had to reinstall the distributor twice to make room for the carb.

[Image Distributor Marking]

The rocker arm assembly is secured in place by head bolts. Remove the entire rack assembly with the associated head bolts still in place. The manual says the bolts hold the thing together. I'm not planning to disassemble it. Set the whole thing on the workbench, and cover it with a rag. Each pushrod and lifter must go back in the hole it came out of. Find a way to mark and store them so they won't get mixed-up. Once the rest of the head bolts are out, and the head has been broken loose from the block, the engine crane can do the heavy lifting to get the cylinder head off and set aside. That removes enough weight the engine can now be rotated on the stand. It is still top-heavy, but not too bad. The first thing I see is the No.1 piston appears to be laying to one side of the bore.

[Image Piston Not Centered]

Rocking the crank back and forth shows that all pistons are very loose and actually rocking in the cylinders! This explains the noisy engine. There is very little ridge at the top of the cylinders. A deep ridge would have to be removed with a ridge reamer before the pistons could be pulled out. Turn engine upside down, remove rod caps, protect journals from damage, and carefully pull each piston/rod assembly out. The pistons will not be re-used, but note which way any markings were pointed before they came out. The rods and rod caps need to be marked/stored, so they go back to the same cylinder they came out of. If the bearings, journals, and clearances are in good shape, the bearings can be re-used. Verify that the rod caps were fitted together with the tangs for the bearing shells on the same side. Each rod and cap should already be stamped with the cylinder number they came out of. Make a note of which way these stamps were pointing, so they can be reinstalled the same way.

[Image Piston and Rod Assemblies]

These piston/rod assemblies were so big and heavy, I couldn't resist grabbing one of the N-Tractor pistons to compare. These pistons are weird. The earlier photo shows how the combustion chamber is recessed in the top of the piston.

[Image Inside Cylinder]
[Image Inside Cylinder]

The cylinder walls look so bad it is hard to believe this engine could make enough compression to run as well as it did. A dial-type cylinder bore gauge was used to measure front-to-back, and side-to-side diameter at top, middle, and bottom of each cylinder. Good News! The cylinders can still be honed to spec for 0.040" oversize pistons. Fortunately that happens to be the largest oversize piston made for this engine. If the damage in No.1 cylinder had been any worse, this engine would have to go to a machine shop to have sleeves installed. The pistons are badly scuffed and worn, but may still be useful to someone. New pistons for this engine are around $150 each.

Normal practice for most people would be to take the block to a machine shop, and let them do the rest of the disassembly. A good engine shop has all the proper tools and expertice to check for hidden problems, and properly do any work necessary. This work is not cheap, but worth every nickel for anyone who has not done that type of work. Nobody has ever accused me of being normal. Engine work is fun, and when I do the work myself, there is no question the work is done right.


Please don't misunderstand, any engine shop should have better measuring tools, automated equipment, and the experience to do precision engine work the way it should be done. Machine shop prices are normally very reasonable for the precision work they do. Most engines being rebuilt will have suffered some sort of major failure. The engine may have been run hot. The engine may not have been running for many years. Anything that creates any question about the integrity of the block must be checked-out by a machine shop. They know how and where to check for cracks and other problems. Make sure you are dealing with a good shop that does enough business to have good quality equipment and (most importantly) good people.

There is no mystery about the condition of this engine. It was running well, not overheating, just very noisy. After studying the innards, this engine only needs to be fitted with oversize pistons. The specifications for this tractor engine are looser than most of the car engines I've worked on. The cylinder specifications are well within the capability of a good rigid cylinder hone. A rigid cylinder hone has a rigid parallel frame for the stones, and a very fine adjustment knob. A cheap, spring-loaded brake hone is worse than useless for honing engine cylinders. If you want to do more of your engine work at home, and have the ability to do precision work, two rigid cylinder hones that work well are the Sunnen AN-112 and the Lisle 15000. These hones are specifically designed to correct cylinder wear problems like taper, barrel, scoring, and out-of-round. With the right person running them, these hones are accurate to within one-half thousandth of an inch (0.0005").

WARNING - A hand-held hone cannot fix a cylinder mis-alignment that was originally bored wrong by the factory. Correcting factory imperfections is a really big deal for most engine experts. I believe honing to restore the original factory cylinder alignment is perfectly ok for most engines that have run well for many years, and certainly ok for a low-RPM, low-compression tractor engine.

[Image of Special Measuring Tools]

Special tools needed to accurately measure internal engine parts include an inside micrometer, cylinder bore gauge, and an inside/outside dial caliper. Taking accurate measurements requires being able to accurately feel when the measuring tool is plumb/square to the surfaces being measured. Verify measurements and technique by checking one tool with another. One small error setting up a tool can quickly throw everything hopelessly off. Double-check everything. Never rely on a single measurement. When measuring cylinder bores, always measure north-south, east-west, at top, middle, and bottom of each hole. Measure several times in various nearby locations until it is clear exactly how and where the cylinder has worn. Most cylinders will have a combination of taper, and oval with the largest dimensions being near the middle of the cylinder. The top and bottom often show very little wear.

The taper in cylinder No.1 was measured as 4.2100" at the bottom, to a maximum of 4.2400". All three cylinders are worn slightly oval in the middle of each bore. The specified cylinder bore range for 40-over pistons is 4.2407" - 4.2432". There is just barely enough material left in cylinder No.1 to properly fit 40-over pistons, but only if the honing is done very carefully. It will be difficult to bring cylinder No.1 back to straight and round, without ending-up too large for 40-over pistons. If this was taken to an engine shop, they would most likely say there isn't enough metal left to properly bore and hone cylinder No.1 to 40-over. I love a challenge.

A rigid hone can be run wet or dry. Honing fluid is a lubricant, as well as a coolant and cleaning fluid. Honing fluid may be a must with expensive automated equipment. Dry stones cut slower, and wear-out faster. That expense adds up in a hurry for a machine shop. Any oil residue (even finger prints) will quickly gum-up and prevent dry stones from cutting. Completely clean and degrease the cylinder walls. Make sure the clips for the stones and felt wipers are fully seated. Adjust the stones so they apply medium pressure. If the stones chatter, they are too tight. Wear a breathing mask. The cheap paint masks work fine for grinding dust.

These cylinders are over 4" in diameter, so the hone should be turned at about 300 RPM. Hone the top and bottom of the bores, where the diameter is smallest. Only move up and down enough to bring the stones fully into the bore, so the stones break-in evenly. Use the parts of the cylinder that show the least wear to bring the rest of the cylinder back to straight and round. Stop and re-tighten the stones frequently at first. The stones will wear quickly until the curve on the face matches the diameter of the bore. Stop, pull the hone out, and measure the stones to check for any taper. Correct any taper with a sanding block if necessary. Crooked stones will not grind a straight hole. The dark cylinder walls will become bright where the stones have started cutting. Continue to focus on the top and bottom of the bore until the fresh hone marks meet in the middle. Do not worry about creating a proper crosshatch yet. We have a long way to go.

Pay careful attention to how the drill speeds up when stroked thru the middle, then slows at top and bottom. It may even spin unevenly where the cylinder is not round. When the drill speed no longer varies, the cylinder is straight. Hopefully, this occurs with at least a half-thousandth still to go before the cylinders are too big for the new pistons. Stop and measure frequently. Always measure in two directions at the top, middle, and bottom of the bore. This is hard,slow work. It is very important to stop and measure frequently. Break the work down to several sessions. When you start to get tired, go do something else. Fatigue makes mistakes and kills accuracy. Never allow the hone to come completely out of the bore while spinning. The stones should never go more than an inch out of the bore at top or bottom.

[Image Inside Cylinder No.1]

Cylinder No.1 - As described above, getting to this point was not easy. It took nearly an hour of careful grinding and measuring to remove the taper, barrel, ridge, and other problems in cylinder No.1. Work was stopped with most of the cylinder still measuring 10 thousandths smaller than the minimum spec size for 40-over pistons. The drill has just begun to run at the same speed from top to bottom. The new pistons need to be in-hand and individually measured to determine exactly how large each cylinder needs to be. The small dark patches remaining in this cylinder are areas that were already worn nearly into the acceptable range for 40-over pistons. Those areas may not completely disappear until the fine honing is being done to fit the piston.

Notice the crankshaft still in the block? Nobody hones a block with the crank still in it! Actually, it is not uncommon to do an in-frame rebuild of these tractor engines. Many of those rebuilds do require at least some cylinder honing since these engines do not have sleeves. These 3 cylinder engines do have enough room below the cylinders to leave the crank in-place. The journals must be padded and wrapped to prevent damage. This solved the problem of stroking the hone too deep, and kept most of the grinding dust out of the oil galleries. The crankshaft was turned to work each cylinder, so the journal and counterweights would not interfere with the hone. If the stones hit anything, they will break, and the backlash could break your arm.

[Image Inside Cylinders 1,2]

Cylinders 1 and 2 - Two cylinders. Looking good.

[Image Inside Cylinders 1,2,3]

Three cylinders straight and round. Put the used stones away as matched sets, so they will always be used together. For this first step, the goal was to remove enough material to correct most of the cylinder wear problems, and start sneaking up on the correct oversize. I'm very happy with the consistent measurements from top to bottom in all cylinders. It was possible that honing would not be able to fix the wear in these cylinders. Rather than order parts that could turn out to be wrong, I waited until the hard work was done. There is now no doubt that these cylinders can be properly sized for 40-over pistons.

New pistons have been ordered, but were not in stock. Unfortunately, they are 3-4 weeks away. A light coat of motor oil wiped on the cylinder walls prevents rust while we wait for parts to be delivered. Remember to degrease the cylinders again before doing more honing. The next step will be to fit each piston to an individual cylinder.

Torque Plates - Just in case someone wants to raise this issue, torque plates duplicate any distortion that happens when the cylinder head is properly torqued-down. I do not believe honing with a set of torque plates would make much difference in this extremely heavy, low compression, low RPM, industrial tractor engine. If torque plates are even available for this engine, I was not been able to find any reference to them on-line.

The new "Made in USA" Clevite pistons finally arrived, and were carefully measured. Two were right at the minimum specified size for 40-over pistons. One was near the maxumim specified diameter. That worked out incredibly well. The job suddenly got much easier. The largest piston could be used in cylinder No.1, that had the most wear and least margin for error. Each cylinder must be honed to the correct fit for the piston that will be installed in it. This is precision work. The specified clearance fit for these pistons is a range from 0.0027" to 0.0037". I've seen much tighter fits for some car engines. Still, this means we are aiming for a clearance of 0.0032" with a maximum error of plus or minus half a thousandth of an inch. There is a very good reason engine shops have automated boring and honing machines. Few people have the strength and stamina to manually run a rigid cylinder hone. A good slow speed drill with enough torque to do the job is a very heavy beast. This work was done in a separate session for each cylinder. Don't be in a hurry to finish. Don't keep working when tired. Now that the hone was stroking the entire bore, and getting close to the right size, the stones must always be moving in and out at the correct speed to create the correct 45-degree crosshatch pattern. This crosshatch, final finish, and piston fit is where many people attempting to do this with manual equipment will fail. It is very hard work that must be done precisely. The piston fit and cylinder finish must be as specified. There are no short cuts. "Almost" right is completely wrong.

[Image Honing Tool]

New pistons come with new wrist pins. Check the fit in each rod small end bushing. If they are too loose, the rod bushings must be replaced. These rod bushings looked good, and the pin fit was well within spec.

Defective Tools Suck. My snap ring pliers are a recent upgrade. The ancient pair they replaced was only borderline usable. Apparently the new ones have only been used for outside snap rings. All the tips for these pliers are angled outward. They work great for spreading outside snap rings. Try using them to compress an inside snap ring and they slip out of the holes. It has been too long to find the receipt and take them back, so chuck one set of tips in the vice and bend them straight (the way they should have been made). Now that set of tips will work for both inside and outside snap rings. The rest of the tips will be added to my never-ending list of stuff to fix.

[Image New Pistons On Rods]

The next step is to check ring end gaps. Use a piston to slide each ring squarely into the cylinder it will be installed in. Measure the gap with a feeler gauge. The specified gap is different for top, middle, and oil rings. In this case, the rings for No.1 cylinder were good right out of the box. Ring gaps for cylinder No.2 and No.3 were a little tight. File the ends of each ring to provide the correct minimum gap. Pinch a flat file in the gap and draw it thru to file both sides square. Mounting the file in a bench vise makes this much easier to do. I can hold the ring with two hands. Knock-off any fresh edge that would score the cylinder, put the ring back in, and measure again until the gap is sufficient. This gap provides room for the rings to expand as the engine comes up to temperature. The ring closest to the combustion chamber runs hotter, so requires more clearance. The specified clearance is minimum. Its OK to go slightly over, but too much will reduce compression. It is best to be precise.

[Image Three Cylinders Done]
[Image Three Cylinders Done]


All cylinders were finished with all pistons, and rings properly fitted for each cylinder. Each set of parts must be kept together as an assembly dedicated to each cylinder. Then comes the most important step. Completely disassemble the engine and thoroughly clean the grinding and metal dust out of every nook and cranny. Continue to keep things like main caps and bearings that will be reused sorted and arranged so they go back exactly where they were removed. Cleaning brushes must be run thru every oil passage in the block and crankshaft. Run soapy water thru the water jacket, and any places grit and dust can hide. Immediately after cleaning with water, wipe every surface down with clean rags dipped in motor oil. Freshly machined metal will immediately start to rust if not covered with oil. Unless you are a lot better at cleaning than I am, the oily rags will instantly show dirt. Go over everything again with clean rags until the rags stay clean. Wrap all loose parts in rags or plastic, so they will stay clean. The first engine I rebuilt was done in a barn with a dirt floor. It took a lot of plastic bags to keep dust, dirt, bugs, and bird droppings out of that engine.

These were some cool photos.

[Image Three Cylinders Done]
[Image Three Cylinders Done]


"Assembly is the reverse of Disassembly."
Yea Right, like that is ever true. In this case, the factory service manual and the I&T FO-31 Shop Manual are very thorough, and include far more information than makes sense to try and duplicate here. Not covered in the manuals is that most assembly problems occur when parts are mixed up, or forced. Check everything against photos in the manual, and photos you took. Do not force anything that does not feel right. Double and triple check the timing marks on every gear, before putting the front engine cover on. Turn the crankshaft occasionally to check that any increased resistance feels correct for the part that was just added. If anything seems less than perfect, STOP, and figure out why.

1 - Rubber seals should be lubricated. Use the same lubricant the seal will operate with. Many gaskets do not need any sealant. The exception to that will be any gaskets that cross a seam between two engine parts, or where two different gaskets meet. Use a small amount of sealant where necessary. I use a small amount of sealant when the gasket will not stay in place long enough to get the bolts started. Too much gasket goo will just squish out and end up inside the engine.
2 - The camshaft is difficult to remove and replace without damaging the bearings. Get a good grip and guide the lobes very slowly and carefully thru each bearing.
3 - If the Ford service manual has any directions regarding where the ring gaps should be placed when the pistons are installed, I was not able to find it. Most engine manuals say to make sure the ring gaps are not aligned. Most manuals are very specific about where the gap in each ring should be. With no specific direction found, I put the top ring gaps facing front, the second ring gap about 120 degrees away, and the oil ring gap another 120 degrees around. Make sure each cylinder wall has a good coating of motor oil, start each piston in the correct hole with the mark pointing to the front, use a band type ring compressor, and gently tap them into the cylinders with a wooden hammer handle. Use short pieces of rubber tubing slipped over the rod bolts to protect the crank. Turn the crank so the journal you are working on is as far away from the cylinder as possible. With pistons in, assembly lube on bearings, and rod cap screws hand-tight, roll engine upside down. Check the torque on all main caps, then snug each rod cap down evenly. Keep checking that the crank still moves easily, then properly torque each rod cap. Check movement of crank again. 4 - Use a torque wrench and the correct torque for all fasteners, especially those that will be hard to get to later. Lubricated threads require less torque than dry threads. The Ford service manual says the published torque values are for lubricated threads. It is always better to torque fasteners in stages. Snug them, then torque them to something like 30%, then 50%, then 100% of spec. When a specific pattern is specified, torque each stage in the proper sequence. When not using a torque wrench, match the tool to the fastener. Don't use a 1/2" drive breaker bar to tighten a 3/8" bolt.
5 - On this engine, don't forget to install the intermediate shaft for the oil pump. 6 - Look closely at all stamped-steel covers before smearing any gasket goo on them. Straighten any part of the flanges that have been de-formed by a previous owner. Stamped steel valve cover and oil pan bolts should be snug. Cranking them too tight will just bend the cover and ruin the gasket. Correct previous damage or the gasketes will leak. I use scrap boards to support the flange when knocking mushroomed areas around each bolt hole flat.
7 - The flywheel for a double clutch is very heavy. Don't drop it on the concrete floor (or your foot). Install the flywheel with the engine at top dead center on No.1 cylinder, with the flywheel turned so the timing marks on the flange will be visible thru the hole in the engine plate. Maybe it only fits one way. I'm not sure and certainly didn't want to have to pick it up more than once.
8 - Don't forget to install the engine back plate before installing the flywheel. There is a cork gasket that goes over the rear main seal area before the engine plate goes on. After the flywheel is installed, check the transmission pilot bearing. Replace it if worn or missing. On this engine, install the pilot bearing retainer, then torque the flywheel bolts. I forgot to install the bearing retainer. Never seen one used on any other engine. As long as the pilot bearing does not fall out before the transmission is installed, no worries.
9 - Reattaching an engine to a transmission is always harder than removing it. Getting splined transmission shafts lined-up and the engine slid into place is always more difficult going on than coming off. This tractor has two sets of splines that need to be lined up. One trick that helps is to pre-align the splined transmission shafts with each clutch disc. Some of my photos show the load leveller and long bolts that were used as pins to get the engine properly aligned. This engine is so heavy, I decided to wait and install the cylinder head as a separate step.
10 - Once the flywheel is in place, make sure the engine is still at top dead center (TDC) on No.1 cylinder. Turn engine slightly so timing marks are at 2 degrees before TDC. Install the distributor with the vacuum advance can pointing out to the side, and set it so the points are just about to open with the rotor pointing to the No.1 spark plug post. Set the distributor adjuster clamp so the hold down bolt will be mid-way in the timing adjustement slot. If this is done right, the adjustment slot will barely be visible next to the vacuum advance. Done wrong, the vacuum advance will be too far back, and will not allow the carb to be bolted in place. I had to remove, reinstall, and re-time my distributor when the carb would not fit. Install distributor cap.
11 - Most head gaskets do not need to be retorqued. Maybe. I still recommend checking head bolt torque after the engine has been thru a heat cycle, or two. On this engine it is a pain to remove the valve cover, but checking head bolt torque is still much easier than having to replace a head gasket. I always check, and have never had a head gasket fail.
12 - Don't forget to put the front fuel line in place when installing the intake manifold.
13 - Use new brass nuts for the exhaust manifold. Replace any rotten studs with new Grade 8 studs. I had to make a special one to replace the extra long one.
14 - Make sure you are done adjusting valves and have bolted the valve cover in place before bolting the air filter assembly to the firewall.
15 - If the lower radiator hose hits the front of the engine, the hose is upside down.

It has been an interesting month. Rain, rain, and more rain. The creek flooded three times, eventually floated our little bridge off the foundations, and started taking it downstream. It took a couple weekends to salvage materials before the next flood demolished it. Now there's a stack of lumber down by the creek waiting for dry weather and a better bridge design. We only have about an acre on the other side of the creek, but it was nice having good access to it.

[Image Engine Bolted to Tractor]

Sidetracked again: Unwrapped the new steering wheel. It appeared to be decent quality. Then I saw the el-cheapo plastic center cap. That just will not do. The one on the tractor appears to be a hard plastic, but it was finished a lot better. I could have just polished or maybe painted the old one. That would have taken a lot less time than it took to carve and polish this billet aluminum one. I have a small shop lathe, and a buffer. Might as well get some use out of them.

The steering wheel should have gone on easy, but the hub does not appear to be tapered to match the steering shaft. It would not go on far enough to get more than one bolt thread started. This is just another common example of new replacement parts that don't fit right. A grinder and round file were used to create a taper in the new steering wheel hub, so the steering wheel would fit properly.

[Image Steering Wheel Cap]

This matches the shift lever knobs.

[Image Shift Knobs]


[Image Engine Bolted to Tractor]

Two 5/8" bolts 6" long, stuck thru the lower engine/transmission mount holes were a big help aligning the engine with the transmission. Adjust the height/angle to get the guide bolts into the holes in the transmission. Adjust height and angle until the guide bolts are not binding. Then start sliding the engine into place. Pre-aligning the splined shafts with each disk certainly helped make this one of the easiest engine installs I've ever done.

The top deck of the engine block was covered with tape to keep dirt/bugs out. A rag was thrown over that for additional protection.


[Image Install Front Axle Carrier]

No surprise, the front axle support assembly is very heavy, and awkward. The surprise was getting it jacked and bolted into place without smashing any fingers. Bolt outer axles and radius rods back on, and it will be setting on four wheels again. These radius rods have a slight "hump". They could be straightened, but I'm just going to flip them, and let the tractor start bending them back.


It might have been possible to set the cylinder head on by hand. The engine hoist was right there, and made it so much easier. Valves should be adjusted cold as described in the manual. The valves on this engine are difficult to adjust. It is hard to find the right spot to measure clearance between rocker arm and valve stem. Last time I adusted them, masking tape on my feeler gauges helped make sure they were going to the same spot each time.
The distributor was checked again to make sure the points were properly gapped, and initial timing set to open points at 2 degrees before top dead center (TDC). No reason this setting can't be pretty darn close to perfect before the engine is even cranked. I've done this a few times. Too much advance is worse than too little. Make sure any small error is slightly less advance than specified.
Carb setup is similar. If the carb has been rebuilt, use basic bench settings close to where the screws were when the carb was pulled. If this is a new carb, or previous settings are unknown, slightly rich is always better than too lean. A fast idle setting is better than slow. We are not going to try to get this engine to idle until after it has been run hard a few times.


Another reason reassembly often takes longer is when parts are so dirty we end up cleaning and painting as we go. There really is no better time to clean and paint, than when the tractor is in pieces. In this case, a mistake required repainting several parts. Simply put, Navy Blue paint is not the same as Royal Blue, DUH. This is what I get for painting in the evening with poor lighting. All the parts that were cleaned and painted after work during the week turned out to be almost black when they were brought out in the sun. The only correct color on-hand was in a quart can, so this turned out to be a major painting day. At least the weather was almost perfect for it.

[Image Painted Parts]
[Image Painted Castings]

There was quite a bit of paint left in the spray gun, so rather than poor it back in the can, a quick scrape and paint of the entire frame was done. The previously-painted sheet metal panels were just going to be cleaned. It may have been a mistake, but I couldn't resist shooting clearcoat on them. Clearcoat may be too shiny for a working tractor. It does provide more UV protection for the decals though.

[Image Clear Coat Hood]


This is a do-over of the PCV System that was installed several months ago. This engine originally had a road draft tube system. A long tube ran from the valve cover neck down next to the radiator to vent fumes from the manifold. Modern closed crankcase ventilation systems are much better. The road tubes basically burp fuel/oil fumes all the time, and provide a place for bugs/dirt to get into the engine. Engines with closed PCV systems run better and the oil stays cleaner.

For this redo an elbow fitting and standard PCV valve were connected to the original draft tube connection at the front of the valve cover. This connection already has a baffle to help keep oil inside the valve cover. The elbow fitting allows a standard PCV fitting to be installed in the vertical, avoids running into the radiator hose, and additional insurance that only crankcase fumes will get sucked into the intake manifold. A 3/8" suction hose was used between the new PCV valve and a new "T" fitting installed in the vacuum port on the intake manifold. The original restricted distributor vacuum advance fitting was reinstalled on the outside end of the new "T" fitting.

[PCV System]
[PCV System]

Do not attempt to use the distributor vacuum fitting for PCV. The distributor vacuum fitting has a small restricted hole to provide a metered vacuum source. That distributor fitting will not flow enough for a PCV system. For some reason the previous owner had removed the distributor vacuum advance and plugged the fitting on the intake manifold. Vacuum advance improves efficiency and driveability. I have no idea why anyone would choose to run without it.

Now that we will be pulling fuel/oil fumes out of the valve cover with a vacuum line, a new fresh air vent is required. The ideal location would be at the opposite end of the valve cover. Unfortunately that end of the valve cover is directly under the air filter housing. One option was to come up with a nipple between the valve cover and air filter housing. Aligning two holes for that to work out well did not look easy, and the new valve cover hole should not be in a location that is likely to be constantly drowned in oil. Directly over a rocker arm would be a bad choice. I marked a spot in front of the air filter, over one of the rocket shaft mounting/head bolts. Took the valve cover off and drilled the hole so metal shavings wouldn't end up inside the engine (duh). Many types of universal valve cover fittings are available to attach a PCV vent, filter, or hose to this new hole in the valve cover. Some engines used a separate PCV breather/filter. Most modern engines have a PCV vent hose going to the air filter housing. On this one the little filter breather fitting seemed like the best option.

[PCV System]

Any good conversion should look like it could have been original equipment. This may still have too many clamps to be "original". For now, this should work, and nothing is in the way of anything else. UPDATE: After running the engine a few times, this PVC system works fine. It may have leaned-out the fuel mixture some, but not more than 1/4 turn on any mixture screw corrected.


Everything is ready to go, wiring, fluids, linkage, fuel line fittings, hose clamps, and various fasteners have been checked at least twice. Some fresh rebuilds have been ruined by starting them with no oil in the crankcase. Don't be that guy. Battery is fully charged. Spark plugs have not been installed. That's right, spark plugs are out. This engine was damaged by running it without oil pressure. Before firing it up, cranking with no compression is the final no-load test to listen for anything that does not sound right. If the work was done right, there shouldn't be any issues. It should only take a few seconds cranking without spark plugs to see solid oil pressure on the gauge. If there is a problem getting oil pressure, cranking with no compression isn't going to hurt the engine. In this case it took a little longer than expected to see oil pressure. Just long enough to make me start to feel sick, then the gauge jumped. Next, check plug gap settings, install spark plugs, and check firing order (1,2,3 Front to Back).

After any major engine work, treat the engine like a fresh rebuild. It may not seem logical, but the only way to run a fresh rebuild is hard. The worst thing we can do is "baby" a rebuilt engine. Do not let it idle. When it fires, immediately rev the engine to around 1500 RPM, and hold it there for about 5 seconds. It will make some smoke. There is oil in the cylinders. Let the RPMs drop a bit, then rev it up to around 1500 again. Hold it there for about 10 seconds. With the proper finish on the cylinder walls, rings should seat immediately. Even so, making good cylinder pressure will greatly help the rings to seal and break-in properly. The smoke should clear up quickly. Watch for smoke, sparks, and leaks. If possible, put the tractor in gear, and go for a short, hard ride. Accelerate, put a good load on the engine. Run it long enough to get close to operating temperature, but if there is any strange noise, smoke, or major leak, shut it down, and fix the problem.

OK, This did not go as smoothly as that write-up implies:
PROBLEM 1 - As it says in the manual, the proper procedure for starting this engine is to CLOSE THE THROTTLE, then turn the key. The engine did not start, because my aftermarket foot throttle was holding the throttle partly open. It took a few whacks to come up with a throttle return spring with the right length, tension, and a good way to attach it. I fiddled with that after work for a couple days. Amazing how hard something so simple can be.
PROBLEM 2 - One fuel fitting was dripping, another 1/4 turn took care of that.
PROBLEM 3 - With a throttle return spring in place, the engine started right up. It idled smoothly, but when I tried to advance the throttle, the engine instantly died. Close the throttle and try again. It started right up again. This time the throttle was opened v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y until it was around 3/4 throttle. Put it in gear. Go for a ride. The timing is obviously off. This engine did not have the vacuum advance hooked up when I got it. Now that the vacuum advance is working, what it seems to be doing is trying to stall whenever manifold vacuum drops. Basically, every time the throttle is increased, or load is added, the engine tries to quit. That probably means there is not enough initial advance. Loosen distributor bolt, turn distributor a small amount clockwise. The distributor turns at 1/2 engine RPM, so moving the distributor 2 degrees equals 4 degrees at the flywheel. Huge difference! Now the engine revs like it should. I might use a timing light to check where it is after running the engine and tweaking it a few more times.
PROBLEM 4 - For the entire first drive, there were flaming embers from the muffler dancing on my freshly clear-coated hood panels. Good thing it rained recently, or it might have started a forest fire. At least the engine was running and got up to operating temperature. Shut it down, get some water, spray the hood panels, and see how bad the paint is. Some of the flaming bits of rust got stuck in the new clearcoat. Those were easy enough to flick loose. Once the muffler was cool enough to remove, there are several new holes in the outer jacket and a lot of loose rust inside. This muffler is shot. Rummaged around the barn and found a resonator muffler with a stainless steel tip, and fabricobbled a flapper and hinge from some scrap stainless steel.
PROBLEM 5 - Taillights work, but headlights don't.
PROBLEM 6 - Dash idiot lights work, but fuel and temp gauges don't.

[Image - Looking Good]

This photo was just before the first run.

[Image - New Muffler]

This the temporary muffler and flapper that was used until the correct parts were delivered.

This chapter came to a happy ending. The engine repair took 4 months to complete, working mostly in-between normal chores and other projects on Saturdays and Sundays. Reassembly included a lot more than just putting the engine back together. The plan was for this tractor to take over most of the work, then sell one or all of the older tractors. Most of the problems listed above were not hard to fix. The headlight problem ended up being a rotten female butt connector in the wire harness. Temp gauge was another wire harness issue. Fuel gauge started working then quit again and may need a new sending unit.


This is a bummer. With the engine running good I was really looking forward to tweaking the distributor timing and Holley carb. The Holley gets a lot of bad publicity on the forums, but there is nothing wrong with this one that won't go away with a little tuning. Unfortunately, it very quickly became obvious that this is way more tractor than is practical for our mostly wooded property. Romping and stomping a fresh 50hp tractor in the woods has already gotten me in some trouble. My smaller N-Tractors can easily get into places the 3000 just does not feel safe. The square hood is harder to see around and nearly 50hp is overkill for any of the work we need it to do. I was really looking forward to this tractor becoming my go-to machine for everything. Now it looks like I'm going to have to sell it before we end up climbing a tree or something worse.


No matter who did the engine work, change the motor oil at the very first indication of color (dirt). There are a lot of nooks and crannies in an engine. No matter how well it was cleaned, there is always a chance some grinding dirt might remain in there somewhere.


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Next, 4 To ROPS Or Not To ROPS.

[Image - Tractor Sold]

I'm happy, found a buyer and at least did a little better than break-even on my purchase price and parts bill. Sad to see it go down the driveway though. It's a really-nice tractor that I may be trying to buy back one day.


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