Tearing it Down

While one spindle bearing appeared to be intact and the bushings still in place, the other was crushed to the point that the spindle had begun to gouge into the bearing race.  The lower bushing on this side was completely missing.  Add one spindle housing to the list of parts needed.


The weekend of July 31 – August 1, 2004 was my first time to really focus on this tractor without any other commitments.  Unbolting

the engine from the clutch housing was pretty straight forward, considering that we had just bolted it on a few weeks ago.  All of the parts one normally removes for this step had already been removed.  The hydraulic pump and its manifold were off, the carburetor and its linkage was off as was the intake/exhaust manifold, and the oil pressure line had been detached.  It was still dangling from the oil pressure gauge on the instrument panel.  The line to the temperature gauge had been cut.  The nut holding the sending unit in place was virtually stripped indicating stuck threads.  One more problem that would need attention.


With the engine now bolted to the engine stand, it was time to start cleaning it.  I wheeled it outside and began the process by first thoroughly soaking it with an engine degreaser.  I was pleased that I could easily turn the crankshaft; at least there were no stuck pistons.  After allowing the degreaser to soak for a while, I turned the hose on it, removing most of the large chunks.  Having sat for so many years, however, it took a putty knife and a lot of scraping to get all the gunk off of the block and head.


I had also discovered at some point that the four bolts that attach the brackets for the lift arm check-chains were all broken off flush with the rear section.  I pondered many days as to how I was going to free those broken pieces.  In one of Roger Welsch’s books, he talks about using a reverse twist drill bit to drill out those broken bolts.  The thought being that sometimes the heat of drilling and the reverse twist will loosen the bolts enough that they can be removed with an E-Z Out.  Just finding a source for reverse twist drill bits was a challenge.  The main-line sources, Home Depot, Lowes, Sears, etc. had never even heard of such.  I finally located them at a specialty hardware store in Dallas, Elliott’s Hardware, and purchased three individual bits for the price of about two complete sets of conventional bits.


My first opportunity to use a reverse twist drill came with my attack on the temperature gauge sending unit.  The sending probe and its housing are made of brass.  Someone’s attempts to remove it conventionally with a wrench had resulted in a complete rounding off of the bolt head.  I could not even get a grip on it with a vice grip wrench.  I had soaked the threads with penetrating oil before I even removed the engine from the transmission section.  My first attempts were with a chisel and hammer to see if I could force it to turn.  I only succeeded in gouging the head.  It was time to drill it out.  Somewhat tentatively I chucked in the 3/8” reverse twist bit I had purchased and began to drill.  About half way into the probe, it began to turn.  Success!  I was able to remove the bit, grab the remaining threads with a pliers, and cleanly turn it the rest of the way out.


I next turned my attention to the transmission section.  Removing the transmission cover I could immediately see big flakes of rust plus it smelled bad.  Putting a pan underneath, I pulled the drain plug.  In addition to some gobs of congealed lubricant, I drained about two gallons of water from the transmission.  Fortunately, in this part of Texas, it rarely gets cold enough to have frozen it solid and nothing appeared cracked.  The shaft turned easily enough in neutral and, using a large screwdriver, I was able to shift it into all four forward gears plus reverse.  The rust was mostly surface rust; the gears did not appear to be pitted at all.  I scraped off and vacuumed out as much of the rust as I could and sprayed everything thoroughly with WD-40.


Things pretty much came to a standstill as far as tractor work went while we took a break for a two-week family vacation in mid-August.  My first trip to Gap Tractor[4] was in late August.  I was in search of a pair of fenders, a real seat, a right running board, a rocker arm, and a left front axle.  While specializing in John Deere parts, Gap Tractor also has an assortment of old Ford tractor skeletons as well as pieces and parts of other makes and models. 


I suspect most fenders you’ll find in a bone yard will be pretty rough.  I selected what appeared to be the best pair out of several lying in a pile, found a running board that looked reasonably clean and the axle I was looking for.  They also had just acquired a used power steering pump complete with two hydraulic cylinders.  Although covered with dusty grime, I bought it, too, as I had found that one of the cylinders that came with my tractor was “frozen” and the pump was of questionable origin.  The “Rest-O-Ride” seat I picked up was in pretty rough shape, but so was the rest of the tractor, so I figured it would be OK once I got it cleaned up.  Getting back home, I discovered that the running board I had picked out was for an early 800, not an 801.  I also found why the running board was missing in the first place – the bolt that attaches the rear bracket to the transmission case was broken off, flush with the case – another problem.


The flywheel was off the engine and evidently had been for many years.  It looked like it had been sitting exposed to the elements as the friction surface was rusty and pitted.  The ring gear had several teeth that were worn.  This would also need to be replaced.  I called several machine shops and finally found one[5] that could turn the flywheel surface.  This shop also ground out the gouge in the bottom of my damaged axle spindle allowing me to re-use it. 


I had no idea if the starter motor worked or not, but I couldn’t take the chance of re-assembling everything and not having the starter work.  Another perusal of the yellow pages and I found a shop[6] that specialized in generators and starter motors.  I dropped off the motor and two days later received a call that it was fit and ready.  With a couple of small issues resolved, bigger ones lay ahead.

[4] Gap Tractor Parts, Inc., Cranfills Gap, TX (www.gaptractor.com) .

[5] Automotive Machine & Supply, 212 Carroll St., Fort Worth, TX

[6] Sellers Starter & Alternator, 2801 Crockett St., Fort Worth, TX

Subpages (1): Engine Problems