This is a picture of our “new” tractor. It is an 8 N Ford and was manufactured between 1949-1952, not sure exactly, but it is in my age group and it runs. That’s why I like it. Like me, it is so old, they don’t make replacement parts for us anymore but the engine is so simple that I just might be able to F.O.R.D (an old acronym for the car, truck and tractor manufacturer, “fix or repair daily”) by myself after a few lessons from our mechanic, who actually grew up driving a similar tractor. “Green Acres is the place for me.”A better picture will be coming forthwith.
So far I learned that there is a routine you have to follow to start and shut down this beast which I found out the hard way by burning out the ignition coil on my first test drive. You are supposed to put the tractor in neutral, turn on the gas line, pull out the ignition button and then press the starter. If the engine is cold, then you have to pull out the choke. When you are finished mowing, you have to turn off the gas line and let the gas in the line burn out. The engine will stop when all the gas is out of the line, naturally. Then you are to push in the ignition button, which I failed to do thus burning out the ignition coil. As I mentioned, “they don’t make replacement parts for us anymore”, and we proved it. We went to every auto parts and tractor parts place within 50 miles of Talking Rock and got the same answer in every place, “what’s this”? A week later we called Mason Tractor in Cumming Georgia and they said they might have that part and they asked, “Does the tractor have a 6 volt or 12 volt battery”? What? So, I called our mechanic who knew this information off the top of his head. I relayed it to Mason Tractor and they said they had it. I told them not to sell it to anyone else. He said, “You’re kidding me, right? This is for a 1949 Ford tractor. We’re lucky the rats haven’t eaten it.”
We replaced the old with the new and cranked it up and… nothing. We had to tinker around with the connecting wire before we got it to stay on. The next time it fired up like the old tractor it is.
A couple of us kicked back and enjoyed a beer as we watched Captain Jim bounce around the back pasture on our new tractor. After an hour and Lord only knows how many gallons of gas, Captain Jim yelled to us to come over. We thought he was going to beg for a beer, but no, the mower attachment wouldn’t lift up. There was something wrong with the hydraulics.
We looked around scratching our heads before a volunteer pointed at a bolt on the floor behind the gear shift and finally said, “I think this is where the hydraulic fluid goes.” Sure enough, he was right. After looking into the hole and observing the gears, it was obvious there was no fluid left.
So, we jumped in his old Jeep Wrangler (Captain Jim couldn’t go because the back seat was removed and there was room for only one passenger) and headed for Advance Auto Parts to get some hydraulic fluid. I had no idea how expensive that stuff is ($70). I was told it should last us the rest of the year or for the life of the tractor, whichever came first. While we were there, we decided it might be a good idea to put an air filter in the Wrangler so we wouldn’t have to worry about the motor shutting down before we made it back to the barn.
By the time we returned( with a 12 pack of Bud Lime Light or Bud Light Lime) Captain Jim had done a day’s work which included moving the round pen around allowing the horses to come out of the back pasture and eat some of the fresh sweet clover around the front of the barn.
We filled the reservoir with the hydraulic fluid and Captain Jim climbed into the saddle to finish his mowing while we resumed our consumption of beer. After a couple of passes, Captain Jim drove up to us and said the mower wasn’t lifting again. We put in a little more hydraulic fluid to ensure it was full. We were beginning to question just how long this fluid we bought would last. If this tractor kept eating up hydraulics this quickly, we would have to “mortgage” the farm to finish bush hogging the 27 acres.
Captain Jim cranked up the engine again and the additional hydraulic fluid seemed to do the trick.
Ain’t she cherry? She actually looks worse in person.