This tractor was purchased in 1998 in poor, but running condition. I needed a tractor to mow and perform other work on our 5-acre property. Some repairs were done following the tractor purchase, but the old tractor really needed a thorough rebuild. So, in January 2003, the work began.
This tractor had been equipped with front-end loader at some point in its life. One of the mounting brackets was still in place on the front axle when I bought it. Front-end loaders are very hard on the steering components, so the rebuild will include the front-end.
Due to budget constraints, I'm not going to be able to do as much with the sheet metal this go around as I'd like. This is the rebuild of a working tractor, not a "restoration" to factory original. So, you purists are just going to have to bite your lips.
Here, disassembly for the rebuild has begun.
The work is being done on one side of our two-car garage. The garage was built ten feet deeper than standard, but it's still cramped quarters.
Note the angled or "side-mount" distributor, as well as the proofmeter drive on the governor below it. These were both unique to later years of the 8N.
1952 was the last year of the 8N and serial number 512510 is fairly close to the end of the run. The last 8N produced was serial number 524076.
"Proofmeter" was Ford's name for a tachometer/speedometer with a built-in hour-meter. There are concentric scales on the instrument face to determine speed based on the gear selected.
This tractor was converted from 6 volts to 12 volts by a previous owner. It had a hideous alternator mount welded up out of heavy iron that weighed more than the alternator itself. The alternator was not functioning, either. So, I purchased a new conversion kit right after I bought the tractor. However, the kit was made to utilize part of the original generator mount, which was long gone. So, I used a couple of pieces of angle to fabricate part of the mount.
Also, note the nasty oil filter canister. You'll see more of it on the next page.
One of the great things about the Ford tractor engine design is that they were designed to be easily and economically rebuilt.
The block is made with replacable sleeves. With new sleeves, the engine can be made as-new without the need to bore the cylinders oversize.
Earlier N-series tractors used steel sleeves with .040" wall thickness.
Later Ns, like mine, have .090" cast iron sleeves. Many "thin-wall" blocks have been bored out to accept the "thick wall" sleeves.
Although any machine shop should be equipped to remove/install sleeves (for a price), I happen to have access to a lathe, materials and friends with the knowledge to make a tool to do this myself. I also learned a little about how to operate a lathe in the process.
Yesterday's Tractors N-series Discussion Forum
Ntractorclub.com - On-line Forum and technical info
Just8Ns.com - On-line Parts Store
Myoldfords.com - Lots of technical info and pictures.
Smith's Ford 8N Tractor Page - Excellent Ford N-series specifications, history and pictures.
Don's Ford N-series Tractor Governor and Carburetor Overhaul - excellent tutorials with pictures