Repair the loose steering on your Ford tractor

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Does the steering on your Ford tractor need repairing? Watch this free instructional video demonstrating a complete steering gearbox replacement on a Ford 8N. The same technique can be used on a Ford Jubilee, NAA, 600, 800, 2000 4-cyl., and 4000 4-cyl. In this newest series of tractor repair videos offered online at SteinerTractor.TV Rachel takes you step by step to disassemble your dash and to install the new steering gearbox and drag links. She also shares helpful tips along the way to achieve straight steering. Start watching today >>

How to Determine Your Tractor’s Value

How much is this tractor worth? It’s a question I’m asked a lot. Determining the value of an antique tractor can be a tricky thing, especially if the tractor is rare or in an unusual condition. Whether you want to sell your tractor, insure it, or are just plain curious, these tips can help you determine the tractor’s value.

rachel gingell value of my tractor price for sale

My prefered method to determine a tractor’s value is to see what similar tractors have sold for in the area. You can find recent selling prices by looking at:

  • Auction results. Many auction companies will publish the results of their auction sales. In my opinion, this is the absolute best way to determine fair market value.
  • Ebay. Don’t just look through the current “for sale” ads, though – that will tell you what people are asking for their tractors, but not what they are selling for. Instead, use an advanced search option (in the left menu bar) to search only for the sold listings.
  • Classified ad websites like Craigslist or Tractorhouse.com. These contain listings from many areas, but you’ll need to use caution. The sites will give an idea of what people are asking for, but some sellers ask for unrealistic amounts. Balance these findings with the more reliable results from auction sales and sold listings on Ebay.

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If your tractor is rather common, these methods can usually give you a good picture of your tractor’s value. Just be sure that you account for your tractor’s condition (which could be better or worse than the comparable ones you find) and your location – prices can vary across the nation.

 

If you don’t find good results from online listings, though, there are some more options to consider:

  • A tractor value book (commonly called a Blue Book) will probably have your model listed. You may be able to get one from your local library, or you can buy a copy for yourself. Just be sure the book is rather recent – prices can change a lot over the years. My friend Machinery Pete publishes a tractor value book, which you can purchase from him here.
  • Get a professional appraisal. This is particularly useful if you want  to insure or donate (and claim a tax deduction for) your tractor.

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But perhaps you have a really special tractor – something very rare. If you can’t find sale results and your model isn’t listed in a tractor value book, you’ll have to make an educated guess on the value of your tractor. You may be able to consult collectors’ books to determine how many of your model tractor were manufactured (fewer built = higher value). Then, you might be able to find out what equally rare models of tractor from that same brand have sold for, which can give good insight into the market. When in doubt,sell it at a national collectors’ auction.

Muscle Up Your Classic Ford Tractor

 

There’s something beautiful about a perfectly restored Ford 8N tractor – but there’s a big soft spot in my heart for a V8 conversion job! It’s one of my favorite custom projects that we’ve done in the shop. Here’s a quick walk-through of conversion kits and the basic steps you’d need to take to muscle up your own Ford 8N tractor. With a proper conversion, you can get an 8N tractor up to 100 horsepower!

 

This tractor was converted by Gary Gray of New Jersey.
This tractor was converted by Gary Gray of New Jersey.

 

You’ll find tractors on the market today that were converted to a V8 using a kit produced by Funk Manufacturing (which was primarily in the aviation business, aka Funk Aviation or Funk Aircraft) of Coffeyville, Kansas. Dealers sometimes bought the kits and converted new tractors themselves, while others were purchased by farmers who already owned an N and wanted to increase their tractor’s power. Funk marketed these kits directly to farmers – my favorite slogan from their literature is “A Husky Beauty with Power to Spare!”

 

These conversion kits were in high demand in the late 40s and early 50s as farmers began to demand more horsepower. The introduction of the 8N wasn’t enough for farmers who wanted to use a 3-bottom plow. Ford couldn’t supply more power fast enough, so these conversion kits became popular. A fire in the Funk factory destroyed many records, so we’re unsure just how many conversion kits were produced. While I’m writing specifically about V8 conversions, Funk also made 6-cylinder conversion kits. Eventually, the blossoming popularity of these kits and the demand from the farmers lead to the Golden Jubilee tractor, which spelled the end of the conversion kits.

 

While other manufacturing companies have made (and continue to make) conversion kits, the Funk Conversion is probably the most common. Sometimes people will refer to any V8 conversion as a “Funk Conversion,” but a true Funk-manufactured conversion kit has some telltale signs, like a cast iron oil pan, a bump in the hood near the dash, and notable raised and extended hood. Funk kits are no longer in manufacture, but can sometimes be found at auction sales.

Ford 8N Conversion Tractor

 You don’t need a special kit to do a conversion, though – in fact, it can be a lot of fun to strike out on your own! With some solid fabrication skills (and access to a machine shop), you can muscle up your own N-series tractor.

Ford 8N Funks conversion in progress

 

There are a lot of things to take into consideration in doing your own conversion. Here’s a list (that doesn’t include everything!) to get you started.

 

  • Choose a flat head engine (without a cast iron bellhousing).
  • You’ll have to stretch the entire tractor to accommodate the longer engine – including the radius arms, steering components, and the hood.
  • The radiator will need two water inlets and outlets. Overheating is a common problem with these conversions. I recommend using a radiator from a 9N with a bigger tank on top, cutting two holes in it so that both water pumps from the flat head engine are operable.
  • Get creative with the gas tank. You can either make it smaller to fit under the hood, or put it somewhere else – the fenders, behind the back seat, longways inside the hood, etc.

Gas tank Ford 8N V8

  • Anything goes with the carburetor! I’ve seen successful conversions with a tri-power, dual quads, or a single carburetor.

Tripple barrel carb

  • Offenhauser or Edelbrock aluminum heads are popular, but this is another area where you can have some fun and get creative.

Alluminum heads Ford 8N

  • Exhaust can be a challenge, but it’s worth figuring out how to make a dual exhaust. Many companies offer kits that you can use.
  • You’ll need to make your own adapter plate.
  • The original ignition can work if you wire it into a modern distributor, or you can replace the entire system.
  • The flywheel and clutch can be one of the biggest challenges to a do-it-yourself approach. The original clutch is too big to fit into the tractor bell housing. We’ve tried out a few different solutions in the shop with our conversion jobs. One time we used a Ford 600 (tractor) clutch plate with a flathead V8 car pressure plate – a shorter one can fit in the bell housing. The clutch was slightly smaller than the original one, but it still worked.
  • The other really challenging part is the starter. Most people will use a flathead starter to match the flathead’s ring gear and flywheel.

Ford 8N V8 engine

 

How about you – have you ever completed a V8 conversion? Share your best tips below in the comments.

 

 

Ford Tractor Valve and Gasket Replacement

Ford Valve & Gasket Replacement

Does your tractor have low compression on one of the cylinders? Watch this free instructional video demonstrating a valve job and head gasket replacement on a Ford 134 cubic inch engine. In this newest series of tractor repair videos offered exclusively online at SteinerTractor.TV Rachel takes you step by step to remove and install new seats and valves and sahres many tips along the way! Start watching today >>

Replace your distributor bushing with our handy kits

Distributor Bushing Kits

Replace your distributor bushing with our handy kits

Can’t keep your points adjusted? Check for play in the distributor shaft. The bushing may be worn and need to be replaced. Try one of our USA made kits, complete with all the parts necessary for replacing the bushing in your Delco distributor, IH 353898R11 horizontal distributor or Ford Jubilee – 4000 4-cylinder tractor. View kits >>

View our winning photos for the 2016 catalog

2016 Catalog Pics

We received over 800 photo entries and the results are in! Visit SteinerTractor.com/tractor-photo-winners to view the photos chosen to appear in our 2016 tractor parts catalog. See our choice of winners for the top three categories as well as many other winners for the multiple brands. The top three winners will receive their choice of either a $300 Steiner gift card or a $300 Shutterfly gift card. The other photos chosen for the 2016 catalog will receive a $25 Steiner gift card. Thank you for participating and we encourage you to participate in next year’s contest. Also watch your email for our 2nd Annual Calendar Photo Contest. Congratulations to all those chosen and thank you again to everyone who participated.

FFA a Pink Ford 8N and an Amazing Girl

We received this story from Cassandra and couldn’t wait to share it. What a great story of a young lady with a love for tractor restoration and a heart open to helping others. Please share her story, she is a great example of our youth.

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My name is Cassandra Gifford a recent graduate of Eufaula High School in the state of Alabama. I am currently a part of one of the greatest organizations available to youth, the FFA. Through FFA I have been blessed with many great opportunities, one involving restoring antique tractors. Being on the tractor restoration team for 3 years has inspired me to restore my own personal tractor. By restoring my own tractor it would allow me to get my American Degree, which is the highest award that you could achieve through FFA.

In the beginning the plan was to paint my tractor pink because not everyone has a PINK tractor and it would also keep my dad from using it to plant food plots for deer hunting. As my restoration progressed I would soon find out there would be a pink tractor competition through Fastline Publications, the best pink tractor submitted in August would gain the cover of the October addition in honor of breast cancer. After having heard about the disease I wanted to learn more about it, in doing so I found out more people were affected by this than I originally thought

I figured by using my tractor as a tool to somehow educate and give people hope and courage it would make a difference in their life. I work closely with Medical Center Barbour and Relay For Life and many other cancer related organizations. My tractor has been to many different fundraising events including the National Peanut Festival, Eufaula Pilgrimage, Indian Summer, Champions of Hope, and many other events. All funds donated are put into the Medical Center Barbour Breast Cancer Fund. As a female I’m aware of the risks and the sacrifices of Breast Cancer. While interviewing several Breast Cancer survivors I found out it was closer to home than I originally thought. Millions of women are diagnosed every year. Inspired by these stories I knew I wanted to restore this 1952 Ford 8n tractor in the name of Breast Cancer.

This tractor and someone diagnosed with Breast Cancer has a similar resemblance, the tractor on the outside looked to have no hope but with a lot of hard work and external modifications there would be a second chance. Seeing the tractor for the first time in its condition I knew it was going to be a lot of work. I have now restored it to its new second chance on life in hopes it will inspire Breast Cancer survivors that they too can have a second chance on life.

Throughout my project I have been able to make so many new relationships, help those in need as well as spread the word about my love for the FFA. My pink tractor now has its place on the Front cover of the Fastline Magazine for the pink tractor 3 mcbOctober edition for 2014. My tractor has also been traveling to different fundraising events all over the state of Alabama. At each event that Hope and I have attended we have earned donations for this cause and we continue to do so as we want to find the cure and end the fight.

My goal throughout this project has been to help those in need and inspire others to help as well. This restoration would have never been possible without being involved in FFA, having an advisor like Mr. Buster Padgett, supportive parents, and many others such as: Eufaula High School, Titan Tires, Steiner Tractor Parts, Fastline Magazine Publications, NAPA Bennett Auto Parts, HG Auto Paint, Eufaula Iron Works, and Herndon Tire Company.

Cassandra Gifford
Eufaula, Alabama

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The Genius of Harry Ferguson

imagesMany of us know Harry Ferguson’s name from early farm tractors. His invention of the hydraulic three-point system and handshake agreement with Henry Ford to put it into production has made the Irish innovator a household name here in America (at least, “household name” in the sort of household I grew up in!).

But before Harry Ferguson made it to this apex of innovation, he had to challenge two prevailing beliefs about tractors and their implements. His need to innovate was spurred on by World War 1, as Germany’s U-Boat campaign blocked ships with needed food from reaching Great Britain. The Irish Board of Agriculture asked Ferguson and an associate to work on improving the efficiency of Ireland’s tractors, giving Ferguson the driving need and the means to kick his innovation into high gear.

After making an extensive survey of Ireland’s agricultural practices, Ferguson determined that the problem wasn’t with the tractors – it was with the implements. He pinpointed the plow in particular as the biggest roadblock in agricultural production. So in order to improve efficiency as quickly as possible, Ferguson decided to attack the implement situation. Photo - thomas_vanderluit@gmail_com - 915995

Along the way to a better implement system, Ferguson uncovered two central truths about tractors and their attachments. While these truths may seem completely obvious to us today, they represented a major adjustment to the way farmers operated in the early 1900s. Here are the two truths Ferguson uncovered that proved foundational to our modern farming techniques:

  1. Plows are not one-size-fits-all. In Ferguson’s time, tractor-specific implements were few and far between – many farmers continued to use the same plow their horses had been pulling the year before. This created an incredibly inefficient situation. The plow design that is best for horses isn’t necessarily the best for a tractor, and the size and horsepower of a tractor makes a big difference in its pulling power.
  2. The tractor and the implement work together as a unit. Plows (and all implements, for that matter) in Ferguson’s time were often simply trailed along behind the tractor like a wagon. Common designs had their own wheels and were very heavy, using the implement’s own weight to break through the earth. Ferguson challenged this presupposition, designing a lightweight plow to match the equally light Eros tractor (a conversion of the Model T Ford). Instead of being passively pulled behind, the plow attached rigidly to the tractor.

Together, these two truths became the backbone of Ferguson’s “unit principle.” He demonstrated his new tractor-and-plow setup in November of 1917. While his early design seems crude to our modern eyes, it was revolutionary in its time. On demonstration day, Ferguson plowed at 2 ½ miles per hour – a rate that was four times of what a team of horses could accomplish.

In the years to come, Ferguson would expand on these early principles and develop the three-point system we use today. Of course, Ferguson wasn’t the only person to ever make these observations – many of his contemporaries were coming to the same conclusions themselves in this time period. But Ferguson, more than anyone else, transformed these observations into workable solutions (the 3-point hitch) that are still in use around the world today.  

Why I Love the 8N Ford

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Here are the Top 8 Reasons why I love the Ford 8N:

 

  1. Made in Michigan. These beauties were manufactured in Highland Park, Michigan – less than 100 miles away from my hometown.
  2. Easy to get parts. With more than a half million 8N tractors produced, it’s easy to find aftermarket and original parts for a restoration project.
  3. 3-point hitch. The 8N tractor marked the end of the handshake agreement between Henry Ford and Harry Ferguson, but it still included a 3-point hitch (Ferguson’s invention). While the design was updated from the original 9N and 2N, there were enough similarities that Ford had to pay a $9.2 million settlement for copyright infringement to Ferguson. Having the 3-point hitch was essential to the 8N’s success though – a price that Ford was willing to pay. DSC (15)
  4. Easy to get on and off. Compared to my dad’s favorite tractor (The Farmall H), the 8N tractor is a breeze to mount.
  5. Easy to drive. No doubt I’m one of thousands of kids who learned how to drive on a Ford 8N. They are simple to operate and a good size for mature youth to start with.
  6. Easy to repair. Unlike today’s advanced and complicated machinery, Ford designed a tractor that the farmer would be able to repair himself. Most repairs can be made with just a couple sizes of wrenches and other common shop tools.
  7. Implements! Such a huge variety of implements are available for the 8N tractor – it’s hard to imagine a task that there isn’t an implement for.
  8. Classic color scheme. The red and gray is my favorite tractor color combo – but it looks good in pink, too!


rachel gingell wrenching with rachel ford 8n tractorHow about you – are you a fellow 8N lover? What makes you a fan?  

The Adjustable-Height Tractor

US2231710-0Henry Ford was a powerhouse of an inventor, registering hundreds of patents during his lifetime. Many of his inventions were key to the transformation of American agriculture, but plenty of others never made it off the drawing board. One of these forgotten projects is a design for an adjustable height tractor.

 

The tractor was a narrow-front design that allowed for the independent raising and lowering of each of the rear wheels and the front end. The idea was to provide for maximum versatility in a tractor. When raised, the tractor would have the clearance necessary for cultivating crops. When lowered, drawbar strength increased. When plowing, the farmer could even adjust the rear wheels independently of one another to level out the tractor as it drove in the furrow. Ford also mentioned that the narrow front axle could be replaced with a conventional axle when needed.

 

Ford applied for the patent in 1939, and it was awarded in 1941. No doubt wartime rationing and shortages limited Ford from working out the kinks in his design. Once the war was over, Ford’s tractors were in such high demand that he could sell on reliability alone – no need for special projects like this to boost sales.

 

To learn more about Henry Ford’s design, you can read the text of the original patent application here (this is also the site where the diagram photos originated from).  US2231710-1 If Ford had figured out how to put this tractor into production, would you buy it?