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August Featured Tractor Photo

“I recently moved to a location with 20 acres. I was in need of a tractor. After meeting new neighbors and friends, I mentioned that I needed a tractor. One of my new friends said he would sell me his tractor and gave me his address where I went to see it.

This picture says it all. The shed was probably being held up by the wisteria growing through every window, wall, and door. Peeking out the front was this amazing find. A 1959 Case, model 210B. The owner drove it in the shed 6 years prior and had not touched it since.

I put it on a trailer and took it home. I put a carburetor kit in it, the 6-volt (positive ground) generator was rebuilt, and a new battery was installed. It started up and continues to run better each day.

It is a wonderful tractor and a rare model. It has power steering, low and high range, and is easy to drive.”

-Lawrence Hodson

1938 Massey Harris Challenger Twin Power

Steve-HansonIf I may I would like to share with you a story about a tractor that has been in my family since 1938.  I have a 1938 Massey Harris Challenger Twin Power.  My Grandfather purchased it from a Massey dealer in Arcadia Iowa on Feb. 25th 1938 according to the requisition that I have.  I also have the original tags that were on the tractor when it was new as well as a letter from Massey with the envelope that states he could buy the rear fenders for 15.00 and the pto with the large shield for 35.00 which he did purchase.  I have the owner’s manual and the parts book for the tractor and sales brochures  as well.  I have the steel wheels for it but the tractor is on rubber and buy looking at pictures I have of it I think this might be the only rear tires this tractor has seen.  The front tires I think are the second set of rubber because they have red dots on them which means they are World War II rubber.  I have not restored it and plan to keep it original.  I overhauled the magneto and carb. And it runs like a top but it is not bright and shiny, I have been debating to restore it like a new tractor or leave it as is.  I have had been told to leave it as is but we will see.

 

Thank you

Steve  Hansohn

John Deere 720 Before & After

Tractor restoration by our customer Daniel Humbert from Chemin du Petit Molard, Switzerland.

His before and after shots of his John Deere 720 diesel.

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?

Winner of the April $200 STP Gift Card

Chuck Knuth is the winner of our monthly drawing for a $200 Steiner Tractor Parts gift card. Each month we draw a name from our email subscribers. If you are not already on our email list sign up now for your chance. www.steinertractor.com/email-sign-up

2015-April-WinnerHere is a photo of my ’41 JD H before disassembly began.    I inherited it from my father, who didn’t know much of the the tractor’s history.    It ran well but was missing lots of parts after an apparent “functional” rebuild following an accident (big weld across the lower pedestal.)

Can anyone help with this mystery? There’s a layer of dark blue paint under the faded green. Did any come from the factory that way? Or were any painted in company colors? Any information would be appreciated.

Best Regards,
Chuck

On the Road with Rachel: Mecum Gone Farmin’ Tractor Auction

I’ve just returned home from a weekend at the Mecum Gone Farmin’ Tractor Auction in Davenport, Iowa. What a blast! Suzette Thomas and I represented Steiner Tractor Parts at the auction on Saturday. We got to meet many of you and make some new friends, too. The Mecum auction is one of the better rare tractor auctions in the country, filled with jaw-dropping finds from all around. Here are some of my favorites from the sale:

MM G706 LP

1962 MM G706 LP with front wheel assist. Here’s a picture with the proud new owners, Everett and Diane Hauert. They have a collection of front wheel assist tractors. While their collection is mostly red (IH), they are certainly excited to welcome this prairie-gold beauty to their collection.

 

IH 1588

This 1974 International 1568 caught my eye as soon as we got on the grounds. How could anyone not notice!? This tractor has a rare V-8 engine and was one of just 862 built. This tractor sold for $36,000 plus the 4% buyer’s premium.

 

John Deere

This John Deere 4520 drew plenty of attention, too. Notice that it has an adjustable front end and a standard wide-swing drawbar. It is a fabulous tractor with the power steering, dual front stacked weights, side council and dual hydraulics. This tractor also has a rockshaft delete (no 3 point hitch). On Saturday, this tractor sold for $25,000 plus a 4% buyer’s premium.

 

Case high clearance

Up next on my list is this 1957 Case 400 Super diesel high clearance. This tractor was one of eight built, making it the lowest production tractor at the auction. This tractor sold for $26,000 plus 4% buyer’s premium to a Case collector in Iowa. He, of course, was excited about his purchase.

 

John Deere 4040 Vegtable

Arguably one of the most rare (and desirable!) tractors at the auction was this John Deere 4040 tractor with a factory convertible front axle. This tractor sold for $24,500 plus 4% buyer’s premium. I forgot to take my own picture at the sale – thanks, Mecum, for lending me yours!

 

 

photoAt the Steiner table we handed out catalogs, our new mini-catalog and Wrenching with Rachel DVDs.  We also held a drawing for a free t-shirt every 15 minutes. I enjoyed meeting many of the Steiner customers and people who watch our tractor repair video series and follow this blog.

If you missed us at this show, don’t worry – there’s a full season ahead! Up next on our calendar is the Gone Farmin’ Nashville 2nd Annual Country Classic Tractor Auction, June 5-6. I hope to see you there!

 

How about you – what tractor events (auctions, shows, etc.) are you looking forward to this season? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

Pro-Tips: Finishing Touches to Make Your Tractor Stand Out

rachel gingell farmall m tractor chrome muffler steinerNow that spring is here, my calendar is starting to fill up with tractor shows and events. I’m excited about traveling around the country this summer (perhaps you’ll see me at a Steiner booth at a Mecum auction!) and seeing some of the finest tractors around.

 

If you are headed to a show this year with a restoration project of your own, you’re probably at the point where you are ready to start thinking about the finishing touches for your tractor. Here are five often overlooked details that can take your completed project from good to great.

 

  1. Matching Tires: Make sure your rear and front tires match, and are in the correct size. I personally prefer long-bar/long-bar tread tires (like most antique tractors originally came with) rather than the recently popular long-bar/short-bar tread pattern.
  2. Decals: We purchase many tractors that have been nicely painted and mechanically restored – with the decals handed to us in the package! It can be a little nerve-wracking to apply decals, but it’s actually very easy to do. Don’t let fear of messing up a perfect paint job keep you from finishing. Here’s my video how-to for decal installation.
  3. Stainless Steel Muffler: No, it’s not a factory original… but a stainless muffler is my favorite.
  4. Gauges: Even if the old gauge works properly, they often become faded or yellowed in the sun. A brand-new gauge can make all the difference, giving your dash a factory-fresh look.
  5. Complete Three-Point Components: A properly restored tractor should have the original-style top link. John Deere collectors seem to notice this detail more than others, but it applies to all brands.

 

How about you – what finishing touches do you put on your tractors? Let me know in the comments below!

Buyer Beware: What to Look for when Purchasing an Antique Tractor

SuperH.5Tractor enthusiasts are generally wonderful people. The vast majority are honest and friendly, the salt-of-the-earth folks that you can be confident doing business with.

 

But every now and then, you’ll run into a seller who isn’t so upstanding. My dad and I have bought thousands of tractors over the years, and we’ve learned the hard way about many tricks that dishonest sellers will use to cover up serious mechanical issues in their tractors. Here, we share seven of the most common tricks – and how to see right through them. JD 430W

 

  1. A turned-up oil pressure gauge. A dishonest seller can fiddle with the readings on the gauge to make the tractor show great pressure when the pressure is actually quite low. To fight against this, pay careful attention to the amount of smoke the tractor gives off. Excessive smoke can be the warning sign of a worn-out engine.
  2. A lowered oil level. If the engine smokes, a seller can try to mask this by lowering the overall oil level – with less oil in the engine, the tractor won’t smoke as bad. Checking the oil level can help make sure you are getting an accurate representation of the tractor’s condition.
  3. The wrong spark plugs. Dishonest sellers can also combat a smoky engine with hotter spark plugs, which will help burn some of the oil off. Make sure they have the correct spark plugs.
  4. Hydraulic fluid. We’ve seen dishonest sellers put 90W gear lube in the hydraulics to cover-up a worn out hydraulic pump.
  5. Water in the engine. This can be covered-up by changing the oil just before the buyer comes, which flushes the water out of the engine. Check the oil for yourself after letting the tractor run for a while. Make sure that anti-freeze hasn’t made its way into the oil before you leave. Anti-freeze in the oil is usually the sign of a cracked head or a blown head gasket.
  6. Thinned-out oil. On a diesel tractor, check for engine oil that’s been thinned out and smells like diesel fuel. This could be a sign of an injection pump that is leaking into the crank case. Thin engine oil wears out the engine fast and is a big red flag.
  7. Black silicone on the tires. I mentioned this in my previous post, but it’s worth repeating – look over the tires carefully! A dishonest seller can cover up rips or tears with black silicone, but this is just a (dangerous) cosmetic fix.

 Farmall 140

Now that you know about these seven common tricks, you’ll be better prepared to guard yourself against dishonest sellers. While just one of these problems doesn’t automatically mean your seller is hiding something (they could just be clueless about the correct spark plugs, after all!), spotting one does mean you should stay alert for others. If you see multiple tricks like these, your seller is no doubt trying to hide something seriously wrong with the tractor.


How about you – what tricks have you seen dishonest sellers use?

Spring Maintenance on Your Antique Tractor

Ready to bring your tractor out of hibernation? In this “From the Barn” series – a collection of tractor repair videos offered exclusively online – Dan Fitzgerald shows you how to get your tractor ready for the working season, one of the most routine and necessary maintenance inspections. You’ll receive extra tips that will help you through any necessary repairs with ease. View all our other videos at www.SteinerTractor.TV

Tips for Starting a Tractor in Cold Weather

Photo - dalesby@yahoo_com - 785877 
When the temperature drops, getting an old tractor to start is harder than ever. Cold snaps can also be when you need your tractor the most, and have the least patience for engine trouble. Here at home, we use a Farmall M to haul firewood, a John Deere 520 to blade the driveway, and a Ford 5000 to run our generator when we’re out of power. We depend on these old tractors, and sometimes they need a little TLC to get running when it’s below zero.

Here are three tips for getting your old iron running, even in the cold:

  1. Make sure your battery is fully charged. Cold batteries don’t work as efficiently as warm ones, so you need all the juice you can get! You can also warm the battery up to room temperature inside, then take it out to the tractor when you’re ready to get to work.
  2. Warm the engine – a block heater is ideal, but an electric dipstick and/or a magnet heat pad for the oil pan can do the trick, too. You’ll be most successful with this method if your tractor is in the barn (and sheltered from the wind) to begin with, and it can be helpful to drape an old blanket or canvas drop-cloth over your tractor as insulation.
  3. When all else fails, a small amount of ether can often start your engine. While ether is controversial and certainly not ideal, sometimes it’s absolutely essential. We find that cheaper starting fluid does less damage (because it contains less of the active ingredient, ether). Used sparingly, a can of starting fluid is a valuable part of my cold-weather toolbox. .


Give these tips a try next time you need to start an antique tractor in cold weather. And let’s all hope that spring will come soon! Photo - vasicek2crazy4u@aol_com - 784029